Have you heard about the ’10,000 hours practice’ thing yet? If you have not, you will do at some stage.

The theory goes that you have to practice your art for 10,000 hours before you can consider yourself proficient and worthy. This may not be true for some skill sets like hanging out the washing or selling bottles of at a hot cricket game. But after a decade speaking (and probably not at the 10,000 hour mark yet) I have to tell you it is true in our profession. Whether it is keynoting, training, coaching, mentoring, facilitating or writing a book – it is an art form that touches people at the deepest levels and moves them in some way.

Not only is it necessary – it is a responsibility. Many times people have come up to me months and years after a workshop or keynote and tell me I have impacted them hugely, hopefully in a positive way – increased sales, top line profits, etc. However on one occasion I recall spending a bit of time with a conference attendee and when we met again, she told me she had taken my advice and left her husband!!!!! What? How did she interpret what I had said that way? But she had. I am sure it was going to happen anyway but she took my words and applied her meaning.

The point is we have a responsibility to recognise the impact we have on our audiences.

It is our responsibility to give value to our clients. I look back and almost shudder at some of the performances I have given as I have been learning. Many thanks to those that paid me to practice on them – but shame on me. Part of our confidence around charging what we are worth is being worth what we charge. That is where perfect practice brings perfect performance.

Nor can we truly relax on stage and be our best, in our flow of expertise and delivery style, until we have put in the hard yards.

I do meet members that expect it on a plate. It is not going to happen. Our support and open sharing of all our knowledge gained over many years of real life experience is there for the asking – but be willing to give back.

Help is there to have but we cannot do the 10,000 hours on your behalf – that is your game to play.

Record yourself and look at the footage – your audience had to so why shouldn’t you?

And one that really helped me – put yourself in a position to learn surrounded by the names you recognise and respect. Attending the Professional Speakers Academy was a game changer for me when I was starting out – several days surrounded and immersed in speaking topics and ideas on how to speak, run a business, find clients, charge the right prices, and so much more.

And the friends I got to know living with each other for those days are still some of the key support network I rely on today.

Find the time, invest the dime, and start your journey towards 10,000 hours..

Bill James

National President

April 2014 Newsletter

Professional Speakers

 Association of NZ Directory

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