Why repeated practice makes you better, not false

 In Mindset

In my speech communication and sales presentation work, when I drill participants to fluency in performing a specific task, some people will say that they don’t perform well when in drill/practice situation but say, “I’d be better in a live situation”.

My work over the past couple of decades has shown that a person’s performance in the drill/practice situation will be similar to their live interaction or presentation performance. Top spoken communicators repeatedly drill various interaction/presentation types (for example, how to handle a chance encounter with an A class customer/prospect) and get objective feedback on their performance.

The importance of training/drilling an interaction/behaviour to fluency is eloquently described in an excerpt from Aubrey Daniels’ book, Bringing out the best in people, under the heading of ‘Train performers to fluency’. Here it is:

“When you are fluent at more than one thing, you are able to recombine, these fluent repertoires in new and novel ways. Contrary to the popular notion that repetition makes one less creative; under the right circumstances fluency makes creativity possible. Think of an expert tennis player practising for hours every day to master the standard shots of the game. During a match, however, unexpected situations always arise.

It’s at these times that spectators are often amazed at the ‘creativity’ of the tennis star. “How did he do that?” is the frequent reaction of the fan. How ‘he did that’ one of a kind shot, is a result of the fluency developed in those standard shots through years of practice. Because he doesn’t have to spend time and energy thinking about how to do the standard shots – he is free to combine two or more behavioural repertoires, into one that is novel.”

The ‘How to apply’ for this post: In the next seven days choose a communication behaviour to practice to fluency (eg. ‘owning time’ at the start of an interaction). Then reflect on your performance at the opening of your live interactions, and on whether the practice helped you better perform in the live situations.

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