Monthly Archives: February 2014

LIFE: A PARADOX CONUNDRUM (9)

Life is full of paradoxes that some say require balancing; however accepting an appropriate location on the paradox continuum, when dealing with the paradox conundrum, may be as good as it gets! An example of such a paradox follows:

  • Practice makes Perfect
  • Practice does not make Perfect

We all want to be successful in life whether it is academically, sports, the arts, other activities, or in our careers. There have been a number of books and articles in recent years indicating that to be world-class in anything then approximately 10,000 of practice is necessary. As an example, the winners at the recent Winter Olympics are likely to have practiced for 10,000 hours minimum (if one assumed that they started at age 6 and they now are 21, then this is 667 hours of practice per year, which is almost 2 hours per day, 365 days per year for the last 15 years). The secret behind this though, in academics, sport, music and such like, is that the practice needs to be structured such that constant improvement is achieved. This is not achieved by simple going through the motions, rather it is best achieved by constantly pushing oneself such that the practice is both challenging and, at the same time, achievable with effort and commitment. Similarly at work, many people say that they have 15 years of experience but in reality they have 1 year of experience repeated 15 times i.e. they have remained in their comfort zone, and not pushed themselves to learn new skills, take on new tasks that are both challenging and, at the same time, achievable with effort and commitment. Therefore, approach each new day as an opportunity to grow and develop, and whatever it is that you aspire to improve in: academic grades, career, golf, gymnastics, baseball, art, music, football, curling – remember to:

  • Make sure you Practice Correctly

LIFE: A PARADOX CONUNDRUM (8)

Life is full of paradoxes that some say require balancing; however accepting an appropriate location on the paradox continuum, when dealing with the paradox conundrum, may be as good as it gets! An example of such a paradox follows:

  • Speaking in Public is Easy
  • Public Speaking is Difficult

Speaking in Public is easy for everyone other than mutes. We start speaking at age two or so and we speak in public every day; either in our mother tongue, or in a second language. In contrast though, Public Speaking is always listed as one of people’s greatest concerns. This may be related to: Fear, Incompetence or some combination thereof.

Public speaking can take different forms: ad-hoc oral – when you meet your boss in the car park and he/she asks you how your projects are doing; formal oral – when you have to give an oral update at a staff meeting and you know this ahead of time; or when you have to deliver a formal power-point presentation.

There are a number of myths surrounding being a good Public Speaker, and I won’t even mention, “Kissing the Blarney Stone”:

  1. They are born with a gift of public speaking
  2. They do not have fears/get nervous
  3. They rely on data versus how data are presented
  4. They do not have to prepare/practice.

These are indeed myths, and the real key to effective Public Speaking is to understand that it is a skill which, like all skills, can be learned. An effective learning approach will go a long way to move you along this paradox continuum, such that speaking in public is easy whether you’re just chatting with family or friends, or whether you’re delivering a presentation to 5, 500, 5000 or 50,000 people.

  • Public Speaking is a Learned Skill – Join Toastmasters or Similar Organization

View Toastmaster International:

http://www.toastmasters.org/

View Purchase Product Page for Professional Development material on this topic:Public Speaking Improvement Toolkit: 

https://www.icoachandspeak.com/#!/Purchase