I was conducting a presentation skills workshop for a large marketing agency recently when an account representative asked me the following question.
“When we’re getting ready for new business pitches, we often just don’t have time to rehearse. What can we do if we just don’t have time to practice?”
Now I understand that in business we’re all extremely busy. And I understand that finding time to rehearse a new business pitch is hard.
But here is what I told him. “I really don’t have much sympathy for people who won’t rehearse for a new business pitch. If you don’t have time to rehearse, don’t expect to win.”
What if the Atlanta Falcons Quarterback said ‘”We just don’t have time to prepare for next week’s game?” What if Jerry Seinfeld said, “I just didn’t have time to prepare for tonight’s performance?” What if your attorney told you that “I just just didn’t have time to prepare for today’s open argument?”
If you don’t have time to rehearse, I guess I understand. But know this. One of your competitors probably wants to win enough to practice really hard. And with that in mind, they’re probably going to win.
Because teams that rehearse more win more. It’s that simple.
I talk to decision makers all the time about the new business pitches that they hear. They always tell me the same thing. “One team came in and blew everyone else away. They were just so much smoother and better prepared than everyone else.”
Rehearsal is something that is extremely apparent to people who watch presentations. And it’s a simple way to separate yourself from your competition. If you don’t have time to practice, then you’re just not going to do that well. Sorry.
Tiger Woods always found time to practice.