Archives For rehearse

How to Rehearse a Team PresentationOne way to make sure that your team makes a coherent and winning presentation is to rehearse them using what is sometimes called a wall walk.

Team presentations are tricky things, with advantages and disadvantages.

In the plus column, team presentations can draw on the expertise of different individuals, each person speaking about what he or she knows best.

In the minus column, team presentations can be disjointed.

To make the best use of a rehearsal, of course, you need to pull your presentation together — to develop your overall strategy, your message, and your PowerPoint slides.

Check out How To Plan a Technical Presentation.

Once you’ve created, edited, and revised your team presentation, you’re ready to go.

To Rehearse a Team Presentation

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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

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workshops for technical presentationsToo many workshops and training programs titled “Improving Technical Presentations” or “More Effective Technical Presentations” place too much emphasis on trying to improve participants’ delivery skills.

Don’t get me wrong. Many technical presenters do have poor delivery skills, and those poor delivery skills harm their ability to win over an audience.

It’s just that, in my experience, focusing on delivery skills — on improving how technical presenters look and sound — is the wrong place to start and one of the least important skills to focus on. 

There are other, more important, skills to teach, including, but not limited to:

  • Get participants to rethink the very purpose of a technical presentation.
    Why are you making a presentation in the first place? What do you want to accomplish? What do you want your audience to know about and to do with the material you’re presenting?
  • Teach them how to clarify complex material without dumbing it down.
    What is your thesis? State it upfront and supply enough — just enough — evidence to explain, illustrate, and substantiate that thesis.
  • Show them how to structure a clear, logical, and persuasive presentation.
    What’s the simplest, clearest way to structure your material? Is it logical? Is it persuasive?
  • Teach them how to create PowerPoint slides that actually help them convey their ideas.
    How can you use PowerPoint to illustrate your main points? Ignore most advice you’ve heard about using PowerPoint, which simply does not apply to technical presentations.
  • Show them how to rehearse a presentation.
    You can benefit from talking through your presentation in advance a few times, if you do it the right way
  • Help them develop confidence.

Help technical experts — smart people who know what they’re talking about — learn how to create and rehearse a clear, focused, and effective presentation. Increase their confidence in front of an audience. And watch their delivery skills improve dramatically, with very little direct attention given to the issue.

By the way, here are my tips for developing confidence speaking.

What do you think?


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