I think there are two types of public speakers. The ones who are just natural storytellers and get away with preparing their slides the evening before a conference. And the ones that work at their slides, stories, and presenting skills for dozens of hours. I belong to this last category – I work like a maniac – but once on stage, I try to act like a natural storyteller. Don’t be fooled :-).
I often envied my husband – as presenting comes very naturally to him. In the past, he would not start his talk before embarking on the trip towards the conference. He knew everything about the topic he was speaking on, SEO. And he had so much experience and so many stories to share. He could not go wrong on stage. And he never did.
However, he never became phenomenal. Outstanding. He never reached his full potential. Until one day, he also put in the work like a maniac. I can’t remember why; perhaps I was so fed up with him that I forced him to. After some practice, he gave that phenomenal talk. He blew everyone away. His presentation skills did not need any polishing, but his storyline could sure use that. His performance was always excellent, but his slides did improve by putting in a little effort. Even the very best performers – the very best speakers – benefit from practice. They become even better; they become phenomenal.
Don’t be fooled by people’s apparent nonchalance on stage. For almost all professional speakers – the really good ones – there have been hours and hours of preparation to reach that specific state of nonchalance. Public speaking may be second nature for some, but everybody benefits from some proper practice.