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Practice makes perfect

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Katie was excited. She’d just received a promotion. And, for the very first time ever, she had been asked to do a presentation to a client who was in for an all-day meeting. She’d be doing her bit right up front. Ten minutes — that’s all she would have. She really wanted to make a good impression on both her colleagues and the client.

On Sunday night, she went to the office to run through her brief presentation in the room where they’d be meeting. After going through it a couple of times, she set up her cell phone to videotape herself.

When she watched it, she was appalled. Her discomfort with the content showed. She couldn’t remember everything she needed to cover. She used too many filler words, and her transitions to the next slide were sloppy. She had had no idea how her client would see her until she actually took a serious look at herself. She kept practicing, and then videotaped her presentation again. It was much better but still lacked the professionalism she’d hoped to convey. So she practiced again until she was satisfied.

Katie sent me three different versions of her presentation. The difference was dramatic. By the final one, it was clear she was ready for prime time. And the next day, she aced it.

When was the last time you did something like this? Has it been awhile? If so, you may not be as good as you think. Do yourself a favor: Get out your phone and hit record. You might be surprised at what you capture.

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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.