Effectively use a fire drill to make you a better public speaker

I’m sitting at Michel’s coffee shop in Menai this morning as I quickly write this article. The reason I’m “quickly” writing this weeks article is that the lovely ladies making the coffee behind the counter warned me that there is a fire drill this morning, which means that the entire shopping centre will be evacuated. There’s a nice parallel that from this experience that will help you improve your presentation skills.

Hopefully I can get this written before the sirens start going “whoop, whoop, whoop” and they ask everyone to calmly leave the shopping centre.

Yes its going to inconvenient for the retailers in the shopping centre. They are going to have to get all of the shoppers plus their staff out of the centre. I imagine each retailer will have procedures to secure their store during the drill. But it is a challenge that must be faced. And, I’ve no idea what the staff in Woolworths will ask all the people who have filled their shopping trollies with groceries to do…

Aside from being a legal requirement to conduct fire drills it’s a moral requirement. Today is just a drill, but if the real thing ever occurred, the staff at the shopping centre needs to know that they can get everybody out safely.

What does a fire drill have to do with presentation skills?

Often we treat preparing and practising it like a fire drill – putting it off until later.

I accept that your presentations don’t have life or death associated with them (or, at least I hope not). But the reality is to know you have a good presentation you need to prepare and practise. So that when you step into the “pressure situation” of delivering it to its intended audience you know its ready.

If we have to prepare for something we hope never happens, like a fire, why do we avoid preparing for something we know WILL happen. When you are asked to deliver a presentation it is VERY LIKELY that it will go ahead. Start preparing, and remember we practise fire drills to know we can have a happy ending if a fire occurs. Give your presentation the best chance of having a happy ending – practise!


About The Author

Mark Kyte

Mark Kyte is a public speaking mentor and founder of the Public Speaking Skills Academy. Mark loves helping clients achieve dynamic results that help them increase their influence and get more clients. Read more of his blog and if you like what you see check out the mentoring programs.