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The Miraculous Mother of Skill

Nov 10, 2016
Amelie and Leon were sitting at the kitchen table yesterday doing the invites for Leon’s birthday party next week. Amelie was writing in the important information that needed to be right, like the date and time and Mum’s phone number! Leon was writing the person’s name and signing his name.

He was so excited to go to school today and hand out the invites - an 8th birthday party is very special he told me!

Today when Amelie got home from school today she said ‘Do you know Mummy, I know your telephone number off by heart now, after writing all those invitations for Leon yesterday.’

‘That’s the power of repetition!’ I jumped in excitedly. ‘Do you know Amelie, anything that you do over and over again forms an impression on you, whether you’re thinking about it or not. You don’t even have to try, the magic of repetition means that you take it in.’

‘Like a habit you mean?’ she said a little unsure.

‘Exactly!’ I said.

Repetition is often referred to as the 'mother of skill' isn’t it?  And it really is.  And of memory .. and perfection .. and performance!

I saw a clip of Hillary Clinton on stage yesterday where she mockingly said to Donald Trump, ‘You accuse me of using performance enhancers .. and it’s true .. it’s called preparation!’ (regardless of your political leanings: that was a good line - well delivered!)

Preparation, practice, repetition are all important aspects of expertise in any area .. and it’s no different for speaking .. and particularly for the performance element of speaking, which is a big part of it (let’s face it, if you want to be a fantastic speaker, you’re in show business baby!)

Susan showed me a clip of a Beyonce video years ago where she looks to camera and blows a bubble with bubble gum at the end. It looks pretty cool. Imagine being able to do that as part of the song at exactly the right time!

‘I read it took her 40 takes!’ Susan told me with delight, ‘she’s not that cool .. 40 takes!!’

It’s pretty easy to understand really, the more you do something, the better you get at it .. and the more it sticks.

Have you ever thought about how easily you learn the words to songs you don’t even like?

Repetition. Whether you’re thinking about it or not. Whether you’re actively trying not to or not! Repetition is one of the key ways to make an impression on the subconscious mind.

All top sports people understand this, don’t they? How many golf balls does a golf pro hit in practice compared to in a competition? How many serves does world no. 1 Andy Murray make in practice compared to in competition? How many ivories has the concert pianist tickled in practice compared to in front of a sell-out crowd at the Royal Albert Hall in London?

So why would it be any different for a speaker?

I tell people all the time, if you want to develop your speaking, you absolutely can. As an adaptive being, if you embark on a process of growth you’ll get better .. and better .. and better. And that will never stop.

Repetition is such a huge part of that process, so it's time to get comfortable with multiple takes, rewrites, and refreshes.  Repetition isn't just the mother of skill - once you harness the power of repetition and see the results - you'll agree with me that it is the miraculous mother of skill!
Until next time .. 

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Communicating is not just about words. We need to think about our body language, tone, and pacing. How we feel impacts the way we speak. Struggling to find the right content makes us ineffective. Great speakers know that becoming an exceptional speaker isn't just an art - it's a process with many essential elements.

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