4 Reasons To Practice Your Presentation

4 Reasons To Practice Your Presentation

Ever delivered a talk or a workshop and things go awry? My best “awry moment” to date was delivering a workshop at Social Chain in Manchester. The CEO’s dog, Pablo (in pic), decided to start licking my leg. Even when staff got him away from me, he would sidle back and start again. (it wasn’t that gross I promise!)

It proved yet again that nothing can be lost from taking the time to rehearse. The process of practice has so many benefits.

1) You Get Confident With Your Content

Making sure the first time you say something in a meeting, pitch or speech is not the first time you say it out loud, will save you from so many mistakes. Rehearsal allows the muscles in your face to get used to the words, and it trains your brain to start sorting your points in the right order. You are less likely to stutter, say something you didn’t mean to, or get over zealous.

Tip: say it out loud in the car on the way to the meeting or in the shower that morning at least.

2) You Can Make Your Talk Succinct

Practice means you can give your points brevity. The “Rehearse/Edit” process allows you to hear when you are waffling, or when you get boring.

Tip: film yourself and watch it back the next day. You will be able to see immediately if you are saying too many words that have no impact

3) You Won’t Miss A Trick 

Confident speakers will tell you they don’t have to rehearse. They know what they are talking about and they can get up and do it. Except these are the guys that when they reflect, think of the great idea that could’ve made their talk better. At least one run through means you get the best out of your content.

Tip: If you’ve not had the idea while running through your talk, film yourself and watch it back. Just like you will see what needed to have been taken away, you’ll also notice what you can add.

4) You Can Cope With A Dog Licking Your Legs 
(or your kids walking in in the background, or any unexpected event)

Madonna is renowned for making her dancers rehearse so much so that if something goes wrong (like a cloak no being removed properly) all they have to think about is what’s going wrong, not their moves. Same goes here.

Tip: if you want to get your talk completely memorised you should repeat repeat repeat until you can do something else (like cooking or tapping a rhythm) while saying it out loud.

Pablo. One of the dogs allowed to roam in the offices at Social Chain (and he happens to be the CEOs)

Pablo the dog decided that my legs tasted great, once he started licking, he could not stop. When I moved: he followed, when the staff removed him: he returned, in the end I spent the last 5 minutes of the workshop carrying him in my arms. The work I’d put in to rehearsing the content meant I wasn’t thrown: I was able to incorporate the dog and deliver the workshop.

Kind of reminded me of this:

 

 

Planning the Speech

Preparing a speech is hard. It takes time and you deserve to give it the time. But I know, I understand: There can be so much information to get across. There can be loads you actually want to talk about. There can be nothing that springs to mind. And usually you get to the point where you think… “I’ll just deliver the info, no one needs or wants anything more than that…”

Stop.

It’s time to change the way you think about speaking in public.

From now on think about speaking in public as….

  1. Storytelling
  2. Talking about what you care about
  3. Conversing with a friend

How… put what you want to achieve, why its important to you and how you got there in to your prep.
Here are the questions I ask my speaking clients before we even begin…

  1. What is the purpose of your talk?
  2. Who is the audience and what will they be expecting from you? Where are you?
  3. What one thing do you want the audience to understand from your talk?
  4. What is your connection to the topic? eg What made you proud? What made you laugh? What do you obsess about? What made you sad / frustrated? (the emotions go on and on)
  5. How do you want the audience to think/feel about you when you have finished?

The answers here lay the foundation to how you build a great talk, and a great connection with your audience. You’ll find the stories to tell, and the connections to find.