If you could learn a physical skill by reading about it…

If you could learn a physical skill by reading about it, you would already know how to do it.

This seems obvious, right? We all know we can’t just read an article about how to fly a plane and then go be a commercial (or even private) pilot. No, we have to log a lot of time in the air with an instructor before we can be licensed to fly a plane. 

Similarly, if we want to learn to be better public speakers, we can’t just read a book or listen to a teacher. We have to put in the time actually, you know, doing it.

As you might suspect, I’m bringing this up because I had a recent interaction with someone that left me wondering how, exactly, they thought they were going to improve this skill. They were loving talking about all the techniques they could use to be a better presenter, but when the time came to stand up and put it to work, they said, “I’ll do that on my own time.”

It’s like getting out of the plane and telling the flying instructor, “Don’t bother, I’ll do some thinking about this and we can meet again next week.”

I know it can be uncomfortable and feel vulnerable to work on something you’re not great at yet. But the only—yes ONLY–way to get better is to stop talking about it and give it a try.

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