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Presentation is Key


Last week I wrote part two of my Les Mills filming experience in New Zealand and my three epiphanies: baseline, layering and mapping, which help to serve as guidelines in running our businesses. In part three, I’d like to share more of my experience preparing for filming.

Days four and five really allowed my presentation and teaching skills to come alive.  I was able to look at my script and begin to find space (areas of silence) as opposed to “filler words.” Finding space in a presentation is key and allows the audience to breath with you and enjoy what you have to say. Have you ever had someone count how many times you say “ummm” in a conversation, lecture or presentation? You would probably be surprised at how many times you use these words. Isn’t it irritating when someone is speaking to you and every other word is “umm,” or “you know,” or “like?” Well listen to yourself and if you do this, stop it! If you can’t have a conversation without constantly using these words, then stop talking.

For some reason we need to use these words as fillers and we often forget that silence is golden. Pauses are dramatic and will drive points home. Filler words suck and ruin everything. As leaders in our businesses, we have to inspire and teach. Being a great leader means no teaching “off the cuff.” You must be prepared.

Epiphany Number 4 — Practice, Practice, Practice. Practicing what we say and how we say it over and over allows us to turn on our ignition and the words just flow.  Practicing our presentation, classes and training allows us to work towards perfect delivery.

On the fifth day it was easy to see the journey of the presentation unfold and I was able to feel how the audience was receiving it. The reason? I was “coming into” my script and  “turning on the ignition” was starting to happen. Days 6 and 7 weren’t so easy. I began tripping over my script. It happens every time. Many times when we practice over and over again, there are those moments where it doesn’t land right. That’s part of “trusting the process.” Many times taking a step backwards is necessary before you are able to move forward. It’s like preparing for a test. You think you know it, and then you crash. It’s like going to a lecture and it was a waste of time and the presenter didn’t give you anything. This is because the presenter didn’t practice, or give the proper time for his/her material to settle, nor did he/she have a beginning, middle or end.

In our business we talk a lot about teaching our staff by “role playing,” but do we really “role play” to the point of success and reaching the opportunity to “turn on the ignition” when speaking to a customer? Les Mills uses a term called “freedom within predictability.” This is about learning your script by preparing your baseline, layering and mapping, and then really making it your own by bringing your personality into it. As leaders, when we coach we really have to listen to what our coworkers are saying and make sure that the company vision is being delivered to your customers in the way you want. We do this by making sure our staff is saying what we need them to say, but then allowing them to embrace it and making it their own, as well. Coaching is key. Do you coach your team?

Film day!!!! Finally. After all my practicing, not only was I able to “turn on the ignition,” but the words flowed. It was a conversation. I believed I said something important, gave my participants some great “take aways,” and it’s something I can live with and be proud of. Now that I’m home, I’m ready to continue to teach my staff how to be great and can’t wait to write the “how to’s” to make our businesses better, help differentiate our purpose, and ultimately provide cause and effect for our customers.

My advice for all of the leaders out there is to take a step back and really evaluate what makes you great as a teacher and how you can inspire your staff and coworkers to embrace better practices. Les Mills does it right and I was honored to have the opportunity to “trust the process” with them.

Film Day, Final Day, Epiphany  Number 5 — Real Success!

Lori Lowell is the President of Group Fitness Solutions, LLC, and owns 8 Fitness Facilities in Virginia and Wisconsin. Contact her at lori@groupfitnesssolutions.com.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Kim June 16, 2012

    As a new instructor I really appreciate reading these articles! You’ve given me great insight on how to be better and I truly appreciate it!


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