Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The #1 Mistake Leaders Make When They Rehearse

Did you ever notice what all experts do?  

They make the complex seem so easy.

This is no coincidence:  top performers (in all disciplines) share a commitment to preparation.

The best leaders consistently prepare.

That's obvious enough:  but what do they do to prepare? 

In last month’s post, we introduced the acronym PREP:


Last month, we focused on Plan

This month is about Rehearse.

What’s the #1 mistake leaders make when they rehearse? They confuse rehearsal with review.

You’ve heard the old saying: How do you get to Carnegie Hall?


First and foremost, that means: whatever you’ll be doing when you “go on”, you need to do--the same thing, in the same way--in advance.

Reading through your content (even while highlighting your notes in two colors) doesn’t cut it.     

Leadership is a performing art.  There’s a big difference between knowing what you want to say (and yes, you better know that), and saying it powerfully enough land with impact.

Just because you “got it” doesn’t mean you “got it”. 

Why do leaders prefer to review, and resist rehearsal?  The answer’s quite easy:

It sucks the first time through.

The writer Annie Lamott calls this the “shitty first draft”. 

I call it the ugly phase

You have to get your presentation up on its feet, and go through it, knowing that while you’re speaking, those gremlin voices will scream in your head, “This isn’t good!  What do you think you’re talking about?!  No one is going to believe you!  You’re going to get ridiculed into leaving this company!”

Don’t give into to those gremlins.  Speak it out loud:  to yourself, to your dog, to your spouse, to your ex-spouse, to anyone who’s willing to hear it.  There’s a reason it’s called rehearsal.  It has to be re-heard—over and over.

The gremlins will keep at you.  Proceed anyway. 

Do it again.   The gremlins will start to quiet down.

Again.  Again.  When you think you’re ready to go live, do it again.  You want to be so solid that nothing can shake you.

Trust me, it’ll take more times than you think:  artists go for mastery.

Now, that’s rehearsal. 

What’s the secret that pros use to make it look so easy?  Hard work.

Rehearse accordingly.

Next month, we’ll explore the next piece of the PREP acronym:  E:  Examples. 

To continue the conversation, connect with me on LinkedIn:  and read my weekly blog at:

1 comment: