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The value of practise and rehearsal

In yesterday’s pitching event with the City of Cape Town’s YouthStartCT competition, just under 50 young people pitched their business idea for 3 minutes.

This was their second pitch after some 12 hours of training.  Adjudicators from 4 organisations evaluated and scored their pitch.

I was struck again with the value that practising, rehearsing and translating the learning made to the pitch.  I think that those that progress will probably have rehearsed like a ninja!

There are lessons to apply whether you are an entrepreneur or employed.

Here is a short yet informative article on the value of rehearsal by Tim Sanders.


The Value of Rehearsal

As much as practice breeds confidence, rehearsal gives you a sense of certainty. A rehearsal is a practice session in anticipation of a public performance. It’s doing the thing in the “as-if” mode – where you are fully committed.

Whether or not you realize it, this advice is highly relevant to you and not just for those who are public speakers/presenters, but for those who are employed and need to “present” in some form or fashion.

Your life is  a series of performances from crucial conversations to make-or-break presentations. Make a policy of rehearsing any performance you consider important. The more important or challenging the situation, the more often you should rehearse for it.

No matter where you are, you can have a mental rehearsal. In this case, you must conjure up the images of the situation where you’ll perform: The place, audience, ambience, your appearance, everything. The more vividly you see the images in your mind, the more familiar they will be when you are live. This is very helpful for physical activities or direct competition where it’s hard to rehearse for real.

Several years ago, Dr. Judd Blaslotto conducted a study at the University of Chicago that demonstrated the performance benefits of mental rehearsal. He compared a group of participants that practiced making free throws to a group that visualized making the same number of free throws. At the end of the month, both group had virtually the same level of improvement! Today, in the world of sports, visualizations are a critical part of preparation as coaches and trainers realize the confidence building power of imagery.

While mental rehearsals have merit, nothing beats a full contact dress rehearsal. Champions go the extra mile to arrange such real-world rehearsals, while others prepare solely in their head. Take doctors at University of Rochester hospital: They simulate vascular surgeries, and see a dramatic boost in outcomes during actual life/death situations. Along the way, as they continue to rehearse, their confidence soars as they expect to have positive outcomes based on their experience. As one surgeon said, “Nothing will boost confidence in yourself and your team like being successful in the operating room.”

You need to make mistakes in rehearsal because that’s how you find out what works and what doesn’t.   Clarke Peters

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