Yesterday someone told me that I seemed so natural and at ease speaking before a group that it must come naturally. Ha! Early in my career I was so afraid of public speaking that I took a speech course at a local community college to force myself to talk in front of a group. And then I practiced, practiced, practiced before giving a speech. Some would call it deliberative practice, the idea that experts in many fields of endeavor, especially sports, concentrate relentlessly on technique as opposed to outcome, set specific goals and get feedback and use it. A-Rod, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordon and Jay Leno come to mind.
Yes, Jay Leno. An article in today’s Wall Street Journal says that in preparation for his upcoming primetime show Leno –
He arrives at NBC Burbank studios at 8 a.m., an hour before anyone else. He spends his days involved in details like designing the seating layout for the new studio. To tune his act, he has done almost weekly stand-up performances at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, Calif., as well as free shows in Detroit and Wilmington, Ohio, that attracted as many as 20,000 people each. It is all part of his plan to woo as many constituents as he can —audiences, network executives and local NBC affiliates. He runs four miles a day and has lost 12 pounds in the past couple of months.
Sounds like deliberate practice to me. Good luck, Jay. I’ll be watching on Sepember 14 on NBC.