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What Years of Drumline Have Taught Me About Presentations

It’s the best time of year for football lovers. That chill in the air signals that it’s time for tailgates with friends, insane college crowds, channel-surfing with pro football diehards and cheering on your favorite teams. That love of football inspired us to create our latest eBook, “The Presentation Playbook,” bringing all that gridiron knowledge to the boardroom to power your next presentation.

I’ve always had a unique perspective on football, somewhat literally. I’ve spent the last 14 years of my life playing percussion on various drumlines, through high school, college and now on Sundays for the Atlanta Falcons Drumline.

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My experiences as a member of these groups have taught me a number of valuable life lessons, and as a working adult, those lessons continue to impact my life.

With presentations on the brain, here are a few drumline lessons you should consider for your next presentation:

Practice Makes Perfect

It probably goes without saying, but a group like the Falcons Drumline doesn’t come together without a healthy amount of practice. The complexity of the music and the precision required to execute it means that every potential member of the group has to put ample practice time in if they want a spot on the line.

atlanta falcons practice

On drumlines, we talk a lot about “muscle memory;” knowing a piece of music so well that you don’t have to think through every note to perform it. Your hands just know what to do. That’s the level of confidence you need to give an effective presentation. There shouldn’t be any question marks in your mind, uncertain spots or unfamiliar slides. Practice your preso until you attain that level of effortlessness that we try to bring to the sidelines every Sunday.

Give the Audience a Show

Nothing puts an audience to sleep faster than a boring delivery. On the drumline, even with all of our bombastic music, if we’re boring as performers, the crowd is just going to walk away. We have to engage, emote, move around and play with a confidence that demands attention.

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When practicing your presentation, it’s not enough to just have your lines and slides memorized. Work on your delivery as well. You’re giving this presentation because you have the expertise required, so bring that confidence to bear.

Bring the Right Tools for the Job

One of the primary benefits of being on a drumline is not having to carry your instruments home with you after performances. However, you still have to bring the right tools for the job; not just drumsticks, but tuning keys, allen wrenches, earplugs, extra stick tape and more. Especially now that I play on a professional sports drumline, there are no teachers or instructors around to remember all the things I forgot to bring. It’s up to me to make sure I’m equipped and prepared to do my job on the field.

When planning your next presentation, take stock of the situation beforehand and make sure you have the right tools for the job. Are all the projectors and technology in the conference room working? Do you have handouts or agendas to bring? If presenting virtually, have you tested your audio and video? Have you preloaded your presentation into your meeting room? There’s usually not going to be anyone who can pick up the slack if you forget something, so be meticulous about preparing your logistics!

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For more insights on prepping your own presentation game plan, download the “Presentation Playbook” today!

About Joshua Erwin

Josh is a content creator and strategist with a passion for all things tech, such as the latest gadgets, apps, games and more. Josh loves listening to and playing music and is a big college football fan, especially for his alma mater Georgia Bulldogs. When not writing for PGi, you’ll find him gaming or drumming on Sundays for the Atlanta Falcons.

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