How “Saying The Words” Made Me Above Average

by Kenny Pratt

In September and October of 2010 I was invited to speak at the Inside Self Storage conference in New Orleans, the California Self Storage Association conference in San Diego, and the Texas Self Storage Association conference in Fort Worth.

Many people fear public speaking, but I happen to love it.  (If anyone reading this would like me to speak at an event, feel free to contact me –  I would love to come to your company or industry event).  Even though I love speaking and feel comfortable in front of a crowd, I wouldn’t think of going on stage without having rehearsed my remarks.  Each of my 3 speeches was about an hour long, and for each of them I walked through my remarks anywhere from 2 to 4 times.

When I say I “walked through my remarks”,  what I mean is that I stood up in my office and said, out loud, every word I intended to say in front of my eventual audience.  I discovered the sticky sections and I went over them again.  I found the areas where I was using 200 words to say what could be said with 50, and I condensed, forcing myself to be more concise.

Here is my raw evaluation data from the Texas Self Storage Association.

Kenny Pratt Audience Evaluation

96% or more of the audience rated my presentation "Above Average" or "Excellent"

I think I did pretty good.   But it wasn’t an accident.   By the time I was done with those three, hour-long speeches I had probably invested 6 or 7 hours rehearsing.  (Not to mention the other hours I spent researching, writing, and thinking about my material so that it was deep in my mind.)

No one wants to look stupid in public.

I think that is one reason property managers are reluctant to  try new and better sales approaches.  They don’t want to risk  sounding pushy or coming across as dumb to the person on the other end of the phone.

The thing these recent speeches have taught me is that when you are practiced, you are comfortable.   I don’t think most people are reluctant to make speeches or to sell more effectively because the activities are actually scary.  We all talk to other people all the time. The real truth  is that most people don’t like the hard work of practicing and rehearsing.

There’s no need to be afraid as long as you are willing to practice.

Are you with me?


P.S. If you are going to the ISS conference in Las Vegas in March, 2011 I’d love to catch up with you there.   I’ll be there Monday evening and most of the day on Tuesday.  If you’re interested you can also see me present live on Tuesday morning at 9:00.  I’ll be outlining my contrarian approach to  “Motivating Manager’s to Sell.”

  • Kevin

    Hi Kenny,

    I do have a fear of speaking in front of large groups. Reading your post, it had me think about the times that I was speaking and the nerves caused me to move away from my planed topics or caused me to actually read my notes aloud. In every case it was because I had not put enough time into preparing for the speech. When I had a good handle on the subject and had rehearsed several times before my speech, I was actually very calm in front of my audience.

    For a manager to start a new “sales script” they can practice it several times before implementing it with a customer. They may make a few mistakes with the first few customers, but will quickly become more comfortable as time goes on.

    Thanks for your insight.


  • Barbara @Brightfarm

    Hi, Kenny! Congratulations on the awesome results of your speaker evaluation! That is awesome! I agree, practice can make or break a presentation. Nothing shouts “unprepared!” louder than someone obviously flying by the seat of their pants. It DOES take time, but it is well worth it. And before you know it, you know your talk like the back of your hand. Way to go!

  • Christine Hueber

    Thanks for so generously sharing your expert insights, Kenny … I always appreciate them!

    And I agree, practice does help everyone be more comfortable, whatever they’re doing.

    Christine Hueber

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