Several years ago, a couple of friends of mine asked if I wanted to participate in a fundraising event with them. Now, there were two aspects of it. One was the fundraising prior to the event, which you had to commit to raising a minimum of $2,000. If you didn’t by event pre-day, then they charged your personal credit card. But the really exciting part about the event is that we would be walking 60 miles over the course of three days from Santa Barbara, California, down to Malibu, California.

I was thrilled! Well, leading up to the event I received through the mail, email, and meetings that we had all of this information from the event production company about preparing. Of course, there were things like what to pack and what shoes would be appropriate, all the stuff I would expect. But one thing they kept hitting on was about the training to walk – that we should be preparing to walk these 60 miles. Now, I was 23 years old at the time, and I’m thinking, why am I preparing to walk? I, at the time, did cardio at the gym five, six days a week, and I was 23 years old.

I kept thinking, what are they talking about? Why would I be training to walk? The event comes, day one and at the end, I’m feeling pretty fatigued, but manageable. Day two, full firing shin splits. So bad, I barely make it to the medical tent at our camp. I didn’t go anywhere else but straight to that medical tent. So day three, shins taped up and everything, I am fully dehydrated and practically crawling over the finish line to just get to the closing ceremonies.

Never underestimate the power of preparation.

No matter how much you think you’ve got that skill, again at 23 with feeling like I am trained in terms of my cardiovascular strength, the fact of the matter is that my body wasn’t physically trained to be in a walking motion nonstop for three days straight for 60 miles. I did need to train. So when we think about in our everyday corporate job life or our professional life, the preparation that I really want you to hone in on is every single time you’re about to deliver a presentation.

There has to be this preparation, and the best way to prepare a presentation is actual rehearsal. I used to scoff at this. I will tell you, I was in sales, and I remember we would spend 99.9% of the time preparing our actual slide deck and the rest of that little 0.1% of our time on what we were going to say and actually rehearsing it and saying it out loud, whether that was out loud by ourselves in a room or with part of our team there. And I will tell you that once I started to incorporate more rehearsal in those presentations, not only did my message get sharper, not only did the audience receive my information in a better way, but I was able to achieve my objective or what success looked like for me, whatever that particular outcome was.

There is power in that preparation. So today, I encourage you to think about what presentations do you have coming ahead – whether it’s large or small, internal or external. Where will you potentially be addressing one person, yes, one person or multiple people, or an entire audience? And think about, have I prepared? Have I rehearsed what I’m going to say or how I might move? Take some time, block some time on your calendar, and really think about that rehearsal. We’re here to unlock that X factor so you can be that elite communicator, deliver those presentations with impact.