Every year we hold a Christmas play at our church.  This is a large production with amateurs and professionals.  The show also includes actors whose talents can be seen on stage and tv, musicians, dancers, lighting designers, and a beautiful stage.    It is a legit show, and it takes thousands of man-hours of preparation to pull it off.

[callout]photo by Shannon Lafeyette[/callout]

And the most impressive part of it all, is that these wonderful people volunteer their time.

I’ve always been impressed with the devotion of a volunteer.  A volunteer will give up his free time, and miss the party, just to be of service to someone else.  And, a volunteer will often outwork the professional when it comes to his preparation work.

This made me think:

Why don’t all professionals approach their work with the same commitment as a volunteer?

Let me give you an example of the time that I committed to the show as a volunteer.  [Many gave far more time than I did, and some gave less.]

Here’s a Break Down of My Volunteered Preparation Time

  • 36 hours:  Rehearsal Time With the Cast
  • 16 hours:  Rehearsal Time Running Lines (Solo Work)
  • 13 hours:  Drive Time
  • 3 hours:  Prep Time Before Each Show
  • 3:45:  Show Time

  • 71:45  hours of Total Time Volunteered

All of those hours were given for a show that lasted only 1 hour and 15 minutes.  And, we only did the show 3 times.

We started rehearsals 2 months prior to the show.  Most rehearsals were limited to 2 hours on Tuesday evening.  In the week leading up to the show, we worked from Sunday to Thursday for 4 hours each night.  I would also run my lines by myself to ensure that everything was memorized.

Yet, it was absolutely necessary to invest 68 hours of rehearsal to get a 1 hour and 15 minute production we could be proud of showcasing.

It was this exact thing that got me thinking about the time a professional invests in his presentation, versus the time a volunteer gives.

See, most sales presentations are about the same length of our Christmas Play.  A good sales presentation will have about 1 hour and 15 minutes of:

  • Relationship Building
  • Evaluating Needs
  • Settling Fears
  • System Diagnostic
  • Presentation of Solutions

So, the “show time” is roughly the same for the volunteer actor as it is for the sales professional.

Yet, the preparation time most likely is not the same for the professional.

I suspect that most professionals don’t work as hard at preparation as the volunteer.

Which is a shame.  If the professional would invest 68 hours of prep time into every 1 hour and 15 minute presentation, then he would be a world class champion.

And, once the professional has done the hard work of Preparation, he gets to cash in on his efforts day after day.  So, why not just go ahead and put the work in early?

Question:  How do you prepare for success?  Do you put in as much work as the volunteer?

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