Got Presentation Rust? 3-Steps to Shake-off Presentation Rusty-Habits!

“The best way to shake off ‘ring rust’ is to go to the gym.”
– Jon Jones: Professional fighter and UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion


Ring Rust

After a 476 day layoff, the longest of his career, professional fighter and UFC Light-Heavyweight champion Jon Jones was asked before his next fight, “How do you fight off “Ring Rust?’

Ring Rust is defined as a fighter that has been out of the ring or gym for six months or more.

According to Jon Jones – you head to the gym.

Presentation Rust

How do you fight off ‘Presentation Rust’?

Unlike ‘Ring Rust’, you can catch ‘Presentation Rust’ at any time. You don’t have to wait for six months or more. In fact, you can have a ‘rusty presentation’ after 6 seconds.

Rusty Habits

Presentation rust comes from Rusty Habits.  Are your presentations filled with ‘rusty-habits?’

I help business presenters (executives, managers, leaders, trainers, salespeople, and professional speakers) breathe life into their presentations. I work with some of the largest organizations in the world and I see rusty habits all the time.

Before I talk about anyone else, I need to discuss my own rusty habits.

Recently, while preparing for the largest presentation of my career (11,000+ people), I uncovered many ‘rusty habits:’

  • “Ah”
  • “Um”
  • “Uh”
  • “So” (my go-to transition phrase)
  • “And” (my other go-to transition)
  • Speaking too fast
  • Choppy delivery
  • Double-clutching words or phrases
  • Breaking eye contact with the audience to search for lost words on the ceiling.

It was awful!

Fast forward several weeks later. I got a standing ovation from that  audience of  over 11,000 people.

What made the difference between now and then?

Presentation Gym

Metaphorically speaking, I went to the gym – a presentation gym.

Here is the equipment in my presentation gym:

  • Video Camera
  • Scrimmages
  • Drills
  • Mental Rehearsals
  • Presentation Boot camp

3-Steps to Shake-off Presentation Rusty Habits

Here are 3 steps to shake off presentation rust.

  1. Selfie-Yourself. That is, video-record every presentation. It’s hard to watch and listen to, but this is the fastest way to improve. You can see and hear exactly how you perform and when you need to improve. [Stay-tuned for my next article on How to Watch your video]
  2. Set up both “drills” and “scrimmages“. In sports, such as baseball, you’d practice one skill, such as the ‘double play’, as many times as you need to get it right. In presenting, you’d practice one part of your presentation as many times as possible until you get it right. Here are the parts of my presentation where I ran drills:
  • Opening and closing
  • Transitions
  • Deliver content randomly. For example, my speech had four main parts. My wife would randomly call out a number (from 1 to 4) and I had to give that part of the speech.
  • Stories
  • Analogies & Metaphors
  • And much more…

Conversely, a scrimmage is an actual game, where the stakes are low. In baseball, the team will play itself to test their skills. In the presentation equivalent, you set up practice presentations with a live audience.

Record this presentation. After you are done, ask the practice audience for their feedback and record it too. There are dozens, if not hundreds of organizations (Toastmasters, Rotary, Kiwanis, etc) that need presenters daily.

  1. Attend the 9th Annual Lady & the Champs Speakers Conference. Another way to make a quantum leap in your presentations is to attend an intensive workshop. At Lady & Champs, you’ll learn and practice more skills in a few days than many people do in a semester. Click HERE to see more details.

I want to hear from you. Let’s continue the conversation. How do you shake off presentation rust?