Elite Public Speakers Practice and Practice, But They Do It in a Very Special Way

They practice with distractions.

There have not been too many speeches I’ve given over the years where there has been dead silence and no interruptions from the audience.

There has nearly always been a disruption or distraction of some sort:

  • plates being dropped
  • fire alarm going off
  • late comers arriving
  • technology breaking down
  • an argument in the audience
  • audience members distracted by something occurring outside a window with a view
  • another presenter on stage doing something odd
  • loudspeaker announcements

I’ve even spoken at a venue in a small airport. Helicopters, light aeroplanes and the flying doctor service all coming and going.

So when you are practising a speech, do so with a deliberate distraction in place. I know one speaker who loudly plays Tina Turner’s ‘Simply the Best’ while he practices his speech. Another speaker gets a family friend to randomly ring a bell at any time.

It’s all a matter of getting used to distractions. Not being distracted by distractions.

Speakers can’t fight against distractions, but they can learn to accommodate them and minimise their impact on their flow.

The task at hand is hard enough without being disrupted by random distractions.