A thought triggered by my recent attempts at refreshing my 1992 coding skills, learning how to ski, and expanding my musical abilities from keys to the guitar.

Acquiring knowledge can be relatively easy: after you see an animation for 2 seconds you understand why the Moon is facing the earth with exactly the same face for the past few million years. See it, and snap, it has been added to your understanding of the world.

In the world of presenting and design, we can also acquire knowledge: white space, eye contact, one message per slide, “snap” and move on, right? Not so fast, presenting and design are skills, and the only way to master a skill is actually doing it.

Eye balling your slides in a cafe and imagining how you are going to present them is one thing (‘here I will make the point that the competition will never be able to catch up’). Doing it on stage with a crackling microphone while being distracted by a question is different.

Dreaming up a slide is easy, but how do you get these numbers to round in the Excel chart, and how on earth do I incorporate that comment of the CEO in this chart that is already pretty full?

You know that you are getting somewhere with learning a skill when your brain starts to resist, that means that you are getting into new territory as you push it to make new neural connections. Most people give up here, but those who don’t will be surprised when they pick up things again after a night of sleep.

Photo by Robert Baker on Unsplash

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