Last Sunday evening in a church in Notting Hill there was a beautiful performance of Monteverdi’s very difficult Vespers. Some excellent professional soloists and an orchestra, with period instruments, together with the real stars the amateur, 45 strong, Skolia Choir.
The choir, and I know this because my wife was one of them, rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed, probably some thirty times, for this one perfomance. It paid off. They were superb.
Compare and contrast with how so many companies prepare for their one performance, the pitch. They will spend enormous energy developing their ‘score’, the content, and then little or nil on the rehearsal.
Why is this when they know that in a competitive arena the decision will, largely, be down to an emotional response to their performance on the day. Why is there such resistance and reluctance to rehearse? Here are some of the ‘reasons.’
1. “We needed every moment to improve and fine tune our proposal.” Excuse. A ‘great’ proposal unrehearsed will lose out to the good one fully rehearsed.
2. “It was not possible to fit in rehearsals due to client meetings.” Excuse. If you can organise diaries for the pitch, you can do so for rehearsals.
3. “As long as everyone runs through their part, no need to rehearse together.” Excuse. And chances of teamwork shining through disappear.
4. “I am better conserving my nervous energy for the pitch itself.” Excuse. The more you rehearse the better you will be, and the more confident.
5. “We always do a run through just before to check order and charts.” Excuse. This is not a rehearsal, and just before leaves no time for changes.
Any other excuses? Please tell me.
Pitches are performances. The response is largely emotional. Compared with the resource that goes into any pitch, rehearsal is your best return on investment. The more you rehearse the more you increase your chance of winning.
The London 2012 Bid team rehearsed 10 times. The Skolia Choir 30 times. Both won!