Success Tweet 119: Disciplined Preparation is the Key to Presentation — and Career — Success

I’m continuing my series of blog posts that further explain the career advice in Success Tweets: 140 Bits of Common Sense Career Success Advice, All in 140 Characters or Less, my latest career success coach book.  I’m going to be sorry when this series is finished.  I hope you’re enjoying reading it as much as I’m enjoying writing it. 
Success Tweets has gone into its third printing.  That really pleases me.  It has become a greater success than I thought it would be.  I really appreciate your support.  You can pick up a copy at your local bookstore or at  Better yet, you can download it for free at

Today’s career advice comes from Success Tweet 119…

Discipline yourself to prepare for presentations.  Practice out loud until you are totally in sync with that you’re going to say.

Many people fear making presentations.  That’s why they’re not very good at them.  I subscribe to James Malinchak’s ezine.  It’s always full of interesting anecdotes.  A couple of years ago, James told a very interesting story about a conversation he had with Michael Jordan.  He posed the following scenario to Michael…

It’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals and your team is playing on the road at your opponents place. There’s 00:01 second left on the clock and your team is losing by 1 point. You’re at the free-throw line to shoot two shots.  This is literally win or lose time, and the ball is in your hands. If you make both free throws, your team wins their first ever championship. If you miss both, your team loses the championship.  How would you feel?”

Michael Jordan’s reponse…

That’s easy! That situation wouldn’t bother me because I would have already disciplined myself to make sure I had already prepared for success in that, or any other situation!
James went on to say…

Not the answer I was expecting, but it’s very profound when you think about those two words that most would rather simply skim over: 1) Disciplined; and 2) Prepared.  The more I thought about those two words, the more I began to realize just how important they are for becoming a succsessful speaker, author, trainer or coach.  Most people are not disciplined to prepare themselves for success.

James is on to something here.  Disciplined preparation is great career advce.  It is the key to not only becoming a dynamic communicator and great presenter.  it is the key to creating the life and career success you want and deserve. 

In the post on Success Tweet 118, I shared the five step model of presentation success that I teach my career success coach clients.  The fifth point is “practice, practice, practice.” 

I suggest not just practicine your talk, but practicing it out loud using your visuals.  Do this as many times as it takes to become 100% comfortable with what you are going to say and how you are going to say it.  Pay attention here.  This is important career success advice.

When I say this to my career success coach clients, I am often met with frowns and a lot of excuses about not having the time to do the kind of preparation I suggest. 

And that’s why many people suck at presenting.  In Michael Jordan and James Malinchak’s words, they don’t have the personal discipline to prepare for a successful presentation.  Without disciplined preparation it’s basically impossible to do a good presentation.  If you can’t good presentations, you’ll never create the life and career success you want. 

Cathy and I were in Florida last year to celebrate our niece’s wedding.  Cathy was hosting a bridesmaid luncheon.  The night before the luncheon, she practiced the welcoming talk she was going to give at the luncheon at least five times. 

And you know what?  It got better every time she practiced it.  She practiced one more time the morning of the luncheon, and she had it down cold.  She disciplined herself to prepare for her talk.  She was ready to do it.  And she gave a killer talk.  Good for her.

Cathy often accompanies me when I travel.  If I am doing a talk the next day, she knows my ritual before going to bed.  I will practice my talk – out loud – at least twice, or as many times as it takes for me to feel that I have it perfected.  It takes a little bit of time to practice like this, but the audience applause and, more important, my feeling of satisfaction after delivering a great talk are worth it.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Successful people are dynamic communicators.  Dynamic communicators are good presenters.  They follow the career advice in Tweet 119 in Success Tweets.  “Discipline yourself to prepare for presentations.  Practice out loud until you are totally in sync with that you’re going to say.”  As Michael Jordan and James Malinchak point out, disciplined preparation is a key to success in any endeavor – from basketball to business.  Disciplined preparation is especially important to becoming a great presenter.  If you want to become a great presenter discipline yourself to prepare for your talks by practicing – out loud and with your visuals – until you are totally in sync with what you are going to say and how you are going to say it.

That’s my take on the career advice in Success Tweet 119 and on disciplined preparation and becoming a great presenter.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment.  Share your presentation victories and horror stories with us.  We can all learn from, and help, one another.  As always, thanks for reading.


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