Practice makes perfect.  Well, that is what we are constantly told isn’t it?  But is it correct?

This idea was probably best publicised as Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000-hour rule”, which says that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at any skill.

There is a problem with this idea.  Research suggests it isn’t true. The practice is helpful in improving performance but it plays a surprisingly small role in determining whether people become virtuosos or not.

I figure although practice may not make us perfect, it certainly provides us with a heck of a lot more skills to fall back on when required.  And when it comes to public speaking it is quite obvious, practice promotes…

  • Confidence
  • A better performance
  • Enjoyment as it becomes easier

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When I first became an aerobics instructor (many moons ago) I wanted to hone my skills and would practice routines at every chance (I said many moons ago and before the age of Les Mills choreographed programs) till I was confident I knew them backward and reproduce on demand (at 150bpm).  It meant I was confident and could assist my class better as I didn’t have to think as much.  The routines became rote.

I’ve found it much the same for my speaking clients.  It can be blatantly obvious when a speaker hasn’t prepared and practiced.  So although maybe practice doesn’t make perfect…it certainly makes for a proficient performance.


  1. Practice will motivate you to do better
  2. Seek out opportunities to practice
  3. To relax and enjoy the process

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