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Disrupt: Practice Makes What Exactly

One truth in speaking is that some people are under-rehearsed for their opportunities while others are, or seem, over-rehearsed.

What does that even mean?

Scenario 1

You need to do a short presentation at a meeting. So, you throw together some slides and “wing” it. That works if the presentation really doesn’t matter (begging the question, why are you doing it). Let’s imagine that it matters. That the presentation represents increased visibility at work, or a sale, or the ability to move a project in the right direction. In that case, winging it is insufficient.

Scenario 2

Same presentation for the same purpose. This time you practice intently for the task. You run the presentation start to finish twice a day, every day for weeks. You are completely memorized and could describe your slides in your sleep. You’ve practiced every breath, every pause, every reaction you anticipate. You are ready. After your presentation, you look up to mixed reviews. Can’t they see how hard you worked?

The problem of these two common scenarios (substitute speech, call, whathaveyou for presentation) is that we like the binary of too much or too little. The reality of presenting and performing is that you need to rehearse, a lot. But, practice is a process. Practice is not linear and it is about internalization not static memorization.

It means you must rehearse so much more than you think but in a dynamic manner. In a way that engages intention, clarity, and the end result you seek. Rehearsal that acknowledges the humanity in you and in your audience for a performance that allows breath to move organically and make connections.

We are never just transferring data from one place to another. We have computers for that. When we choose the voice, we have more toys and need more space (and time) to play.

This week, look at some of your usual presentations. Do you always run the same call script? Have you given the same presentation without alteration for months or years? Do you hardly ever prepare for a call or meeting?

Identify your pattern, note it and disrupt it.

Gina Razón is the Founder and CEO at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service verbal communication studio in Boston’s Back Bay.  She has over two decades of experience as a teacher of voice and speech, is a communication and change facilitator, and is a voraciously curious voice user.  Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker.  For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit

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