Deliberate Practice means choosing one part of an action to practice, practice, practice. In this one sentence there are three basic actions to Deliberate Practice (or DP as Thriving in Ministry likes to call it).
The first is choosing. A sermon has many parts from writing to compelling images to transitions to delivery to flow to presence. In DP, choose one component such as delivery. Or, as I am doing this week, I am engaging DP to improve my skills on FaceBook. I am choosing how to post this blog to my FB Page – Spiritual Leaders.
The second basic action is choosing one. There are many parts to posting this blog to FB. It may be second nature to click, then click, and then click the correct boxes to many. Yet, as I choose one action, I am concentrating on the one action of that clicking that has multiple steps. I am aware of each step. I am setting in my mind the progression of each click that gets me to the final result.
The third and final step is the practice, practice, practice. I repeat this one action over and over until it becomes the second nature of click, then click, then click. My practice is a relatively straightforward example.
With a more complex action such as sermon delivery there are many component parts to choose. Identify the parts: projection, natural intonation, expression, relaxation, diction, presence, eye contact, and pace to name a few. Then choose one. Then practice that one until your mind and body are in a flow of, let’s say, eye contact. When you feel that practice is complete and an identified observer can report that you are making good eye contact, then move onto the next part. An important part of DP is feedback that you are actually practice what you want to practice and actually moving toward the behavior you are cultivating. The identified observer, someone you trust to give you feedback, can let you know. You own sense of mastery and feedback will create a powerful DP. Very intentional, very deliberate practice.
Choose one part to practice. Intentional, Deliberate.