Sunday, December 30, 2012

Speech Ideas We Can Learn from Tiger Woods

This post is not about Tiger's transgressions. However, is there something we presenters could learn from Tiger? Let me suggest a few principles:

1. It's not over till it's over

You may recall seeing many news clips detailing Tiger's [before the accident]  charge from behind to capture victory on the golf course. Tiger believes that if he can hang near the top of the leader board, he has a great chance for victory. When it comes to delivering presentations, mistakes happen and we may miss the mark during the opening of your presentations. We've all read the advice -- you only a have few moments to capture your audience's attention.

During your presentation, if you notice your audience is growing restless or tuning you out, what would you do?  throw in the towel? Good speakers know the importance of making mid-course corrections to 'get' their audience back. Will it be easy? No, but it can be done.

2. Continue to look for ways to get better

One of the top golfers in the world, Tiger changed his swing while at the top of his game. Those in the sports world questioned the move, and believed Tiger was making a mistake. The change process was not pretty: Tiger had his worst year in the majors; and lost his number #1 ranking. When looking for the reason he changed his swing when he was on top, we can look at the Tiger creed: I improve, therefore I am.

We have to ask ourselves, are we on a path to improve our presentation skills? Are you using stale material or relying too much on borrowed material? As speakers, we have to take risks and stretch ourselves. There are hundreds of ideas on opening presentations, have you implemented any lately?

3. Practice. Practice.

The greatest golfer in the world spends plenty of time on the practice course. There is no question about Tiger's work ethic. It's almost robotic.

To become an effective speaker and presenter, we have to speak. This doesn't mean practicing 30 minutes before our presentations, but really putting the time in to know our material.

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