I blog on Brain-Based Learning, Metacognition, EdTech, and Social-Emotional Learning. I am the author of the Crush School Series of Books, which help students understand how their brains process information and learn. I also wrote The Power of Three: How to Simplify Your Life to Amplify Your Personal and Professional Success, but be warned that it's meant for adults who want to thrive and are comfortable with four letter words.

How to Practice for a Killer Presentation

One of the best ways to learn something is to do it before you learn. We often try to become experts at something, or at least proficient at it, before we venture out and do it because we don’t feel comfortable doing it.

The problem with that is that we actually learn things better when we try them out as we are learning them. 

However, feeling uncomfortable doing something we don’t feel competent in is normal. New things, though often exciting are sources of anxiety - we fear the unknown. This is how we evolved after all.

But if you want to learn faster, realizing that you have to practice before you are confident in your knowledge goes a long way. If you think about sports, you’ll realize this is exactly how we learn sports. A skill is introduced and then practiced over and over despite the fact the athlete feels uncertain and awkward. And that’s where the coach comes in...

My new book Crush School Student Guide: Learn Faster, Study Smarter, Remember More, and Make School Easier is meant to be a coach for teens, a mentor that allows students to practice what they are being taught immediately. This is why it’s not really a book. Most books do not do that.

Most books are descriptive. The good ones tell you how to do something and give you examples, but they don’t show you specifically how to practice, or provide the reader with the opportunity to stop and practice. They just keep going onto the next topic.

A coach is different. Consider what Obi-Wan did for Luke Skywalker. Before that, Yoda coached Obi-Wan on the ways of The Force. In each case, Luke used the light saber or the Force - he didn't just read or hear about them. A coach, like a Jedi master, gives you the way, shows you the way, and helps you practice the way.

This was the aim of the Crush School Student Guide. I didn't want to "just write" a book, because we forget most of the stuff we read from books.  

I endeavored to create something that lasts and something that leaves lasting memories.

There are great books on learning and mastery on Amazon filled with insightful, science-backed, and useful information.

But if you're like most people who you read a 200-page nonfiction book a month ago, you can probably recall three to five facts from it, and unless you've read it several times, describing these facts with detail and examples might prove strenuous.

This is because long-term memories don't form this way. Rather, they're created when you use the information right away and in several ways. Otherwise, you might remember only the things that evoked the most powerful emotions and little else.

Knowing this, I wanted to create something (a book that's perhaps not a book?) that allows an individual to put what he or she is learning into practice as she's learning it.

To accomplish this, I filled each lesson in the book with spaces for reflection, planning, and application of the skills. Akin to a coach helping her pupils practice, the Crush School Student Guide helps teenagers use and improve the skills they're learning in real time. It doesn't say: "You should do this when you find some time," because "this" never gets done this way.

Below is an infographic I use to give my high school students the information that helps them practice for a formal presentation. The previous 2 lessons in the Crush School Student Guide walk them through creating an effective presentation and provide them with a template to complete to plan the presentation. 

The lesson that comes after this one covers the delivery, because what you say often gets lost when you don't know how to say it well.

But right now, let's remind ourselves that Practice Makes Progress.

Practicing Killer Presentations to Decrease Anxiety and Increase Success

Just imagine how a teen might feel knowing that no matter how difficult something is he or she will eventually always learn it or complete it. Skills create confidence. Confidence in own abilities breeds motivation. Success follows. 

I wrote many of the lessons in Crush School Student Guide: Learn Faster, Study Smarter, Remember More, and Make School Easier to increase my high school students' confidence. Now, I put these lessons in a book because I want all teens to have a resource they can go to any time they need to memorize 30 terms for a quiz, study for a big exam, complete a project, or create, practice, and deliver a killer presentation.

The book is now available on Amazon. I promise you that if your teens apply it, their learning and school experience will drastically change. 

It begins here

You have the power to change lives. Use it often so they can change the world.