Archives For practice

man rehearsing a speechRehearsing a speech out loud is one of the best ways to improve it — both its message and your delivery. 

Never, never, never (well, almost never) give a speech without first having spoken it out loud, either to yourself or to one other person. 

There are five ways that rehearsing your speech improves it.

First, by rehearsing your speech out loud, you discover how (or if) it holds together and whether it makes sense.

If you simply outline a speech and think it through (i.e. talk it through silently in your mind), it always makes sense…at least, to you. That’s because you supply all the background information and insights you’ve gained preparing the talk. You know what you mean, so you think you’re saying what you know. But when you force yourself to speak and  pay attention to the words coming out of your mouth, you become aware of the gaps or inconsistencies. And you can fix them.

Second, by rehearsing your speech out loud, you compose it — or recompose it — for the ear, not for the eye.

Written communication is different from oral communication, which needs to be simpler, to use shorter sentences and parallel construction, to be immediately comprehensible. It’s fine to begin with a written text. But talking it through helps turn the written word into the spoken word.

Third, by rehearsing your speech out loud, you pay greater attention to the sound of words.

It’s perfectly legitimate, for example, to use “eschew” in a written piece, but I would never say it aloud in front of an audience. And I have a hard time getting my tongue around certain sound certain phrases. (I made a fool of myself once trying to say “fluent French.”) It’s better to find these things out before we have to say them from the stage.

Fourth, by rehearsing your speech out loud, you simplify it.

You eliminate extraneous material, simply because you forget it. If you can’t remember what you’ve prepared after practicing it a number of times, referring to your notes as needed, how can you expect your audience to remember any of it, given that they’ll only hear it once? Sometimes you need to have a text or a detailed outline to refer to. But even then it should be so clearly and simply structured that you can remember its main point and how one section flows into another. 

And finally, by rehearsing your speech out loud, you learn how to deliver it. You master its pacing, when to speed up or slow down, when to pause, when to increase or decrease your volume. And you learn which gestures come naturally to you, spurred by the thoughts you’re expressing.

If your speech is important enough to prepare for (to research, think through, and write out), it’s important enough to rehearse. Practice your speech out loud and you’ll improve its impact tremendously.

(In a future post I’ll tell you how I rehearse my speeches, but for now let me just suggest that you stand up and walk around while you practice speaking out loud.)

For suggestions on overcoming the fear of speaking, check out How to Develop Confidence.

rehearsing a speech or presentationOne of the easiest ways to improve your speaking — your comfort in front of an audience, the naturalness of your gestures and facial expressions, the quality of your voice — is by rehearsing.

(I’m presuming, of course, that you’ve already created your content, based on what you want to achieve and what your audience and the situation call for.)

Here are my 5 Tips for Rehearsing a Speech or Presentation

Continue Reading…

woman presentingMost TED Talks are technical presentations. They educate audiences — often in an entertaining way — about scientific or technological breakthroughs. (TED stands for technology, entertainment, design.)

But most technical presentations are not like TED Talks. How can they be?

In business people simply don’t have the time, expertise, coaching, or resources ($$$) that are required to create and rehearse a technical presentation that’s on par with the TED conference presentations.

So how can people in the trenches give a successful technical presentation?

Here are 7 Tips That Working Professionals Can Use to Create Successful Technical Presentations

Continue Reading…


The best way to improve how you deliver a speech or presentation is to practice it out loud.

I’m presuming, of course, that you’ve prepared your presentation. You’ve analyzed your audience. You’ve established a goal for your presentation and a strategy for achieving it. You’ve crafted a message that is both clear and compelling. And you’ve created audio-visuals to help illustrate, explain, and substantiate your main points.

Doing all that preparation puts you ahead of 90% of the competition. So why waste all that effort? Don’t stint on rehearsing your talk.

The most effective way to rehearse a speech or presentation is to talk it through not in your mind, but out loud.

Sure, you can and should rehearse it over and over again in your mind. Think it through. Make sure it makes sense to you. If you can’t remember the main points of your presentation in order without checking your notes, how do you expect your audience to remember?

So, by all means, have that internal conversation without yourself. But there comes a time when you have to say those words out loud. And you don’t want that first time to be in front of an audience.

Here’s the problem with practicing a presentation only in your mind, not out loud. You know what you’re talking about. You understand the concepts. And you know how they connect, how one point logically leads to the next. So when you practice it in your mind, it makes sense to you because your mind fills in gaps.

Practicing your speech out loud—actually saying the words, not just having an internal conversation—forces you to explicitly explain and develop your reasoning, your logic, your message.

Practicing your presentation out loud also helps you remember it. I’m not recommending, mind you, that you memorize your speech word for word. But the more thoroughly you know it, the less you’ll have to refer to your notes or look at your slides, and the more you’ll be able to engage your audience.

Here are three rules for rehearsing a speech or presentation:

  1. Talk your presentation through several times in your mind. Make sure you understand the main concepts and how they relate to each other.
  2. Stand up and speak your presentation out loud. Moving around as you do so will help, for a reason that I don’t fully understand.
  3. Stand up and speak your presentation in a setting that is similar to the one where you’ll be presenting.

If you can rehearse your talk using all three steps, you’ll be a much more confident and professional presenter. If you can only practice the first two steps, you’ll still be better prepared than most presenters.

Try it and let me know how it works. If you have another way to practice a speech or presentation, let me know.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...