Three years ago that I did a presentation at PC Forum which taught me a lot about public speaking from Jezra Kay, a professional speaker coach I had to do a 2-minute pitch for Novatium. Easy, right? Think again!
Jezra started off by quoting Winston Churchill who said something like: “If you want me to speak for two minutes, it will take me three weeks of preparation. If you want me to speak for thirty minutes, it will take me a week to prepare. If you want me to speak for an hour, I am ready now.” Jezra said that we would need to practice till I could internalise the talk – every word of it.
Practice? Me? I thought I was ready! But after a couple mock ‘pitches’, I realised that she was right. I was no way close to ready. Writing the pitch was just the start. The words did not flow well. My delivery left a lot to be desired – because the mind raced ahead to what I was going to say next. I had work to do.
For the next three hours, we worked on my two-minute pitch.
I no longer take talks that I have to give lightly. And I think it has made a big difference. But there is still plenty of room for improvement.