Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rehearsing and amateurs versus professionals

A presentation needs to be practiced or rehearsed - just like walking on a slackline or tightrope does. One quote I’ve seen recently says that:

"Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong."

But, how should you rehearse? Back in May 2012 Nick Morgan gave us some excellent advice about Seven ways to rehearse a speech.

Where did that quote come from? When I looked at Google Books there were three different answers in books from 2007. On page 103 of his book Dynamic Components of Personal Power, Jim Bouchard said it was from a commercial for the NFL network. Page 28 of a chapter by Jim Bunch on The Ultimate Coach Approach to Winning in Machlen MacDonald’s book The Power of Coaching...Engaging Excellence in Others said it was from a General Motors car commercial. Barry Gibbons book Speak Easy: Dazzle Every Audience and Leave Them Begging for More attributes it to Harold Craxton.

Barry Popik dug further. In an August 11th post on his The Big Apple blog he said that Nigel Rees’s 2002 book Mark My Words: Great quotations and the stories behind them revealed that it was quoted by Harold Craxton (a musician, composer, and professor at the Royal Academy of Music), and that it referred to musicians. Unfortunately we can’t ask Mr. Craxton where he got it, since he died four decades ago.

Trying to find the origin reminded me of those nested Russian dolls called matroshka. Similarly, in September Dave Kellett had a Sheldon cartoon about literary borrowing, with a sequence that ran from Shakespeare all the way back to classical Greece as follows:

Every writer < Shakespeare < Boccaccio < Dante < Aquinas < Augustine < Aristotle < Plato < Socrates  < Tiggles.

(Tiggles was supposed to be Socrate’s cousin).
Images of Andy Lewis and matroshka came from here and here, all on Wikimedia Commons. 

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