4 Lessons from Strictly

Posted on Dec 19

It’s that time of year again…. and I’m getting excited by it and am really looking forward to it. I’ve booked my place in front of the TV.

Yes- it’s the Strictly Come Dancing Final!!

I don’t usually watch reality TV but I’m a huge fan of Strictly.

That’s probably because many, many years ago (believe it or not!) I used to do competitive ballroom dancing and people ask me if I have a favourite dance but I just love all of it and it makes me want to put on my dancing shoes again. The costumes, the glamour, the dancing, the spectacle, are all a great part of Saturday evening TV.

And it’s great to watch for me as a coach too because week on week it’s fascinating to see how some people respond to the increasing challenges and others don’t.  It’s a joy to watch how some blossom and go well beyond what they thought was possible when they develop the self- belief to do it.

And there are lots of lessons we can learn from it that apply to presenting too.

Here are just a few…..

Lesson 1 – Recovering from mistakes

There are many differences between the celebrity amateurs and the professional dancers. The obvious one is the pre-existing knowledge, level of skill and experience that the professionals have. Another big difference is the way they recover from mistakes. Strictly Head Judge Len Goodman summed it up like this …“When the amateurs miss a step it tends to be obvious and can wreck the whole performance. Professionals sometimes make a small error but they recover so quickly that an untrained eye never notices it”.

And it’s the same with presenting. When you make a small slip in your presentation your audience probably won’t notice. They don’t know what you were going to say so won’t be aware if you’ve missed a bit out or said it in a different order if you don’t tell them. Don’t do anything that draws more attention to the fact that something went wrong. Just keep going with confidence and that will more than compensate for any small slips or errors you make.

Lesson 2 – Understand how people improve

Despite starting the competition with different levels of skill and different natural abilities all of the celebrity dancers improve. Some make incredible progress from somebody who is convinced they can’t dance to performing almost at a professional standard.  It shows what is possible when you have the commitment to improve.

And a key to their success is practise. They rehearse for many hours and they have to learn new dances every week. As well as learning the individual steps which change from dance to dance the celebrity dancers also learn basic skills like how to maintain their posture, keeping to time, showing their personality and telling the story of the dance.

Becoming a success at presenting is about developing the same sorts of basic skills  - timing, posture, showing your personality and telling a story. I teach these in all of my programmes and they apply whenever you are presenting yourself or your business.

Lesson 3 – It’s not just about technical ability

I love to see technical ability and dances performed well but that’s not enough on its own. The audience also responds to personality and passion in the performance as the voting of the public has shown many times. More able dancers have been voted off in the place of those less technically proficient who show their personality and passion which resonates with the audience.

And it’s the same with presenting. It’s really important when presenting to have the confidence to be yourself. Let your personality shine through and connect and engage your audience with your passion. Show your audience that you enjoy the experience of presenting and that you believe in what you are doing rather than just reading PowerPoint slides or from prompt cards which just switches people off.

Lesson 4 – You can’t do it on your own

The biggest reason that all of the celebrities improve to the extent they do and become better dancers and performers is because they each work with an expert coach who from week to week and dance to dance, shows them how to improve. It’s great to see how the professional takes their partner step by step to the next level each week and how they use different strategies for each individual, based on their particular problems and challenges, whether they be emotional or technical.

And it’s the same with presenting. Working with a professional presenting coach who takes you step by step through the process of improvement using techniques that are customised for you will take you to a whole different level. A coach who can teach you techniques to get rid of the fear of presenting and develop your confidence to be you on a stage will make a significant difference to the results that you achieve.

So I ask you to think about how you could apply each of these lessons in your presenting….

And I wonder who will win the Strictly final?

Until next time,

with best wishes for your success,


Cath Daley Ltd.

p.s. if you want to start to become a Master Presenter today then sign up here for the free Winning Presentations Mini-course and get the cutting edge Presenting Tip of the Week straight to your inbox every Monday.

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Posted on Dec 19 in Business Presentations, Coaching, Communication skills, Presentation Skills, Public Speaking

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