29. Practice Makes Perfect

Saturday, September 09, 2023

Smooth Operator/Podcast/29. Practice Makes Perfect

29. Practice Makes Perfect


Everyone loves public speaking, right? Not so much.

But in our jobs, our voice is often critical to getting our message across, leading our teams, and converting prospects into customers. And there are some key disciplines we can use to get better at this skill.

The bottom line is you NEED to practice. Like performing an instrument, playing a sport, or acting in a play, practice is the way to get better.

Some quick bullet-point tips:

- Practice with a partner
- Record yourself and listen back
- Film yourself and notice your non-verbals
- Tighten up your cold pitch
- Getting any anger out early
- Incorporate this into a workflow

To hear more about each one of these, listen to today’s episode!

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So a couple of days ago, or I think it was last week, I released an upset about being uncomfortable and like being okay with being uncomfortable, because discomfort is where your growth really comes from. And it's when we put ourselves in those situations that we're actually opening up an avenue to grow professionally to take ourselves to the next level to take our business to the next level. It's through layers of discomfort, and being able to work through that discomfort. And if you think that's not going to happen to you, you're not you haven't been in this game long enough. Like it's it's a it's a matter, it's inevitable. Like, I don't care what you're doing. At some point, you're going to say I really don't want to do that. And that's okay. It's okay to feel that the point is, do you continue working through that? So one of the kind of the keys to this and understanding of being discount uncomfortable moving into new areas is that when you first start doing it, you're going to be absolute garbage. Like it's just reality, no one comes out the gate, perfect, no one comes out the gate performing to their best level. And the more that you do anything, the better you're going to get. get at it. You know, when I see public speakers, I just think how many times have they given that speech or just couple weeks ago, we were at a comedy club, and it's one of my favorite comedians.

And he told this joke, and it was just ridiculously funny. And so I started looking for him on YouTube. And I found, like 10 different iterations of that joke that he had been telling for eight years as his whole, it started off as kind of a five minute narrative. And when we saw him, it was almost 20 minutes long, it just kind of kept on going and different layers of complexity to it. And it was just, it was stupid, funny. But it got me thinking about how this was very much a part of what we're doing in this space. Even if you're not facing customers as much or facing the public, like the face of the business, regardless, you're still going to have to use different modes of communication. Because communication is just part of our job. And we can't get away with just typing everything out and having that filter, but being able to do things live in the spot, either on phone zoom in person, in any way, you're going to have different areas that you have to really up your game, and be a better communicator. And one thing I was I was watching, variously, the movie Reservoir Dogs, if you haven't go watch Reservoir Dogs, it's great, really classic, 90 cinema. And there's this whole scene where Tim Roth is, he's an undercover cop getting trying to infiltrate this gang of criminals. And he has kind of his origin story. And this is not an origin story, but just like a random drug story that he's telling about this encounter that he had with these police officers, and you see him practicing. And the other undercover officers are kind of poking holes through his story, seeing where he could get tripped up, and he keeps expanding upon it, to the point when He delivers it.

I'm telling if you practice something at that level, even if it's a narrative you made up, you practice it to a certain level, you're gonna believe it yourself. And that's, that's kind of what we're after, like, believe in your own crap. So, yeah, but anyway, just just practicing and getting those different layers, that if there's different levels of what you're doing. So one area this has recently come up for me is with sales calls, you know, doing one to one sales calls, it's definitely a high pressure situation, but it doesn't have to be, right it's it can be perceived as high pressure, or it can be perceived as I'm having a conversation with someone. When you get really good at it, you're definitely in the conversation mode. Now you you obviously have to apply those pressure points, and different modalities that come with pressure with trying to close the sale. But that's different. It's different than the full call being tense. Because if you're tense if you're not in relaxed in the moment, man, then what do you think your prospect is going to feel people can feel when we're not comfortable? And so getting yourself comfortable is going to be definitely pivotal. So one one thing that we did we did we practice one on one with one another, we were doing kind of a two step sales system where I was going to be the center to have that first initial call with the prospect and then move them on to the closer who's actually going to finish and complete the sale. So we did practice off of one another like with each of us being the prospect but there's another layer that We can work on this. And it's not just writing the script. writing the script is important, but it's actually practicing the script and the different things you can add to the script and different ways of saying things. It's really the key is delivery, making things fluid using vocal inflections where needed, we don't just talk like robots, or read from a script, because if you're reading from a script, people can tell when you're reading from a script.

That print pay brings up 100. Think about shooting videos, but I'll get to that later. That's a whole nother episode we'll get to. But one area that I found really, really helpful is I would just walk around with my cell phone talking into it, when I want to rehearse something. And it might only be like a three minute thing I'm trying to really nail down and I'll walk around on my phone for 30 to 40 minutes saying it and his net many different ways as I can keep on expanding upon it, try something different, basically, like different takes, and then listen to it back and find the gold because chances are a hit the gold in there is a matter of putting them together might not be all in the same cut. But actually doing it and hearing yourself back. I know recording ourselves is super uncomfortable. No one likes to hear themselves on tape. Get over it. This is this is professional work here. And you know, definitely embrace that. I'd also recommend really just filming yourself, put yourself in front of a camera, you can be your iPhone camera, you know, just prop it up on something on your desk and look into it and be able to deliver your pitch. We all have different tails on our face. And different things that our faces doing. Our eyes are doing certain things, we tend to turn away at certain moments. What is your face telling you? What are you seeing when you're doing a pitch when you're when you're communicating whatever it is that you're trying to communicate? What is you're facing? So much of our communication is actually nonverbal, not verbal. So it can be something very negative, or you can have to terminate someone or put someone through a counseling where they're getting corrective action taken to them or on their job. But what is your face saying?

You know, be honest with yourself, maybe even ask your spouse or girlfriend or boyfriend or whatever, significant other someone that knows you pretty well, where they're like, oh, there's Adams face, I got it. A couple years ago, I used to everyone in my squad, when I was military, they all knew when Sergeant Liette was pissed off, because I had this vein like that would run up the side of my head. And it would just they knew and I was furious because my vein would pop out. Eventually I learned how to control that and just calm myself down to be able to take in information that didn't make me happy and be able to internalize and keep myself under control control that vein, because that vein would stick out. And when someone pointed out to me, I'm like, holy crap. No, you guys can read me like a book, can't you? So little things like that you're not going to notice until someone points them out to you or you notice them by yourself on video. I also do like cold pitching to friends and family dislike explain things I'm working on. If they can't make sense of it, if it's confusing to them, what is my prospects supposed to think? If they ask questions that are like, should be completely obvious, you know, you kind of set yourself up for failure if that's the case. So do some cold pitching and just explain things to friends and family see what they think of it. You always know when you're on a winner when someone looks at or hears your two to three second kind of elevator pitch and like, Damn, that makes a lot of sense. Now you know you're onto something, because they not being the target market, immediately identified with that and it was in a language that was palatable to them.

Not even fully knowing the offer or the even the product. And another area that I've really found this to be useful is with any team interactions that you do, especially the difficult ones, the fun ones or are or the good interactions or you know, relatively easier. That being said, I've been known to sit there and practice my welcome to a big like a big team culture meeting or celebration meeting that we're having, or kind of a kickoff to a big project. I want my message to the team to be locked in. I want it to be locked in tight. So I'll do little notes and I will practice just to make sure when I get on that phone. Boy it's on and especially with the difficult ones, you know we sometimes have to do not so much fun thing not so fun things in our in our job. lay people off, fire them, but then do corrective actions, negative counseling, those kinds of things.

There's a good A chance at something that person did like might have just pissed you off, and might have, you know, gotten you angry. But that's your human, right, you're not a robot, you're going to get angry at things. I found it personally useful to get that big, double barrel, middle finger moment out of the way, and just do it during a rehearsal, where I tell them what that you know, is wrong with you, you know, why are you sad, you know, those kinds of things where you kind of want to say it, but you don't really want to say it to the person because it doesn't really serve you. But it's in you. So get it out of you. So work through that in your rehearsals and your practice, and unload, like, like my office walls, I've heard so many swear words, I swear. It's, yeah, it's a good thing that children aren't near my office. But anyway, yeah, get those out of the way.

Because then just to kind of calm you down, you'll be feel better, you be able to deliver something that's much more refined when you're interacting with your team and team members. And just, you know, whatever demeanor that you want to portray, you know, make sure that's what you're going for. And the final thing I really recommend is make this a part of the process workflows that you set up for your team. So if you have team members that are having interactions with customers, or partners, or vendors or anything that requires them to use their speaking voice, you know, build practice time into their workflow into their preparation phase, I used to have a pre call checklists that we would do live coaching calls with our community. And it grew to the point where it couldn't be just one person hosting those, we had three or four people hosting those. So there was a pre call checklist that was built into the live call template, you know, it was something for them. And it literally laid down the steps of everything to do to prepare for a call, from putting your phone on mute to making sure your hair looks good, and you know, all those little things like physical things, but then also, you know, go over your notes, know what you're prepared to talk about, practice your opening. Because the call opening is so important, you know, if you can nail that first two minutes, they're more likely to stick around. But if the first two minutes as you fumbling around, you know, no dice, you got to come in ready to go. So I build that into their pre call, template and what they were doing to get ready for a call. Now, the point is, overall, no matter what you're doing, if you're using your voice, if you're communicating in this medium, with team members, with customers, with prospects, with partners, with affiliates, with people that you're meeting at a conference, you know what's going to be the key to your preparation is practice.

Talking it through recording yourself, hearing it back, studying your facial inflections and what your face is saying those nonverbal communications. And making sure your offer and what you're saying is so crystal clear that even if someone's cold, and they have no idea who you are, and what you do, they might not even be in your niche, they can understand what you're talking about. If you can do that, you're gonna have very good one to one calls very good interactions with people, and you're gonna get better and better at it. The more you do it, the more you're in that position, we get more comfortable, and we're able to excel in more areas.

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© Adam Liette Marketing

© Adam Liette Marketing

© Adam Liette Marketing