According to the book “How To Be Like Mike: Life Lessons About Basketball’s Best,” Jordan’s practice habits and conditioning regimen amounted to an “almost alarming harshness.”
In fact, many experts, such as Florida State University professor K. Anders Ericsson, argue that practice continually trumps talent. Prominent examples of success attributed to continuous practice besides Jordan include:
- Bobby Fischer: yes, he became a chess grandmaster at the ripe age of 16. But, he had nine years of intensive study and practice before this.
- Warren Buffet: who is known for his extreme discipline and the significant time he devotes to analyzing the financial statements of organizations he considers investing in.
- Winston Churchill: who is widely considered one of the 20th century’s best speakers; it is said that he compulsively practiced his speeches.
- Tiger Woods: who developed rigorous practice routines from an extremely young age. He continues to devote hours upon hours each day to conditioning and practice in order to improve his performance.
These same practicing principles apply when you are selling your company and your products/services to investors, customers, partners and/or employees.
With regards to your elevator pitch, which is often your opening communications with all outside constituents, practice it over and over again until it flows from your mouth and causes prospects to nod in agreement and understanding each and every time.
With regards to your investor presentations, you should practice them over and over again. And when you practice them, you should think about the goals of your presentation and simulate the questions you might be asked.
For example, you should be thinking:
- What is the outcome of the meeting that I am seeking?
- What questions about my business will the investor have, and how will I most quickly and easily answer them?
- What investment objections might the investor have and how will I overcome them?
- What will be the signs that my presentation is going well, and how will I adapt if it is not?
By practicing your presentation over and over, you will get better and better at it. Just hearing yourself saying the words out loud will help. You will hear what sounds good and what doesn’t.
Likewise, you should practice your presentation on real people — your advisors, friends or family members. And after these mock presentations, ask them to recite back to you the key points you made. Importantly, make sure they recall the key points that you want to convey. If not, continue to improve your presentation content and your delivery until it reaches perfection.
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