Sometimes You Should Preach to Your Chickens

Jerry Seinfeld polished his stand-up skills by trying out new material in small clubs. Harrison Ford improved his speaking skills with the help of a home video camera. Civil rights activist John Lewis practiced his oratory skills by preaching to his family’s chickens. Michelle Obama refined her speechmaking by singing karaoke. Ronald Reagan used outtakes from his Hollywood movies to help hone his speaking skills. 

Great speakers practice — a lot. The fastest way to make big improvements is to speak in front of a mirror. We are more animated and mindful of small features when we see ourselves speaking. The mirror gives us instant feedback and we can adjust on the fly. 

Before an important phone call, try out your message in front of a mirror. Watch how you change your style to emphasize key points while in the flow of the conversation. Same drill before a presentation. Use a full length mirror. Rinse and repeat. That reflection in the mirror is magic. Reflect on the reflection to become much better quickly.