Prepare for Your Presentation Like a Tango Dancer

Prepare for Your Presentation Like a Tango Dancer

Presenting is like dancing tango: prepare so you’ll be asked to perform again!

Whether leading or following, the dancer should not depend on the partner for balance. The same is true for presenters. We should not depend on our audience to motivate us, spark our enthusiasm and keep us energized.

How does an Argentine tango dancer prepare? Well, surprisingly, after going through the basic steps, many famous dancers have told me that the most important exercise is to practice without a partner! In other words, the dancer needs to be able to do the moves by him or herself without relying on another person.

“Turn on the music and dance around your living room.”

“Put a book on your head and do all steps by yourself…to the music.”

I have heard these exact phrases over and over again. This wonderful picture of Fernanda Ghi and Guillermo Merlo, world-class dancers and teachers, shows their intensity. And check out this youtube clip, as they dance alone as well as together. Just amazing!!

Yes, it is wonderful to start with an engaged, interested, tuned-in audience. But when you do not, you must still do your part–and do it fabulously–every time.

Too often I hear people say, “I didn’t have a good audience, so I couldn’t get motivated to speak very enthusiastically. I just had to wing it.” In Tango, too, I hear, “I depend on the leader to keep me on my balance when I’m on one foot.” But that is not the leader’s role. You should show up on your balance and keep on it yourself without having to lean on the leader. And that means practice. David Shenk, in his book The Genius in All of Us, says, “Simply wanting it badly isn’t enough. Deliberate practice requires a mindset of never, ever being satisfied with your current ability.” (p. 55)

This is certainly true when you want to improve in tango. The reward for all my solo hard work and discipline will come when I have the opportunity to dance with an exquisite leader and I can match his energy and balance. I feel the same way about presentations. You must prepare every time, regardless of your audience, because you never really know, in advance, what your audience will be like! If your energy comes from within, you will express enthusiasm even to an audience which at first may appear to be asleep.

For every presentation really prepare and practice out loud because then when it’s time to give that all-important presentation, you will know exactly what to do and how to do it. By repetition of effective habits you will have built yourself a wonderful foundation to consistently present with confidence and ease.

Be your own best coach. Prepare for your presentations by practicing out loud. Whether it’s a tango or a presentation, be the best you can be!

If you want to see another world class couple dance go to Watch Gustavo Naveira and Giselle Anne (considered two of the best dancers in the world) tango together and apart. You’ll see the time and effort they have spent in perfecting their dance.

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