Preparing for a speech – which way works best for you?

abraham_lincolnSome people like to do it in the dark and others prefer a mirror. Some like to do it in private while others prefer someone to watch.

Yes, of course, I’m talking about the best way to rehearse before giving an important speech or presentation.

Even the best speakers in the world can come unstuck if they haven’t prepared and rehearsed their delivery beforehand. Even Abraham Lincoln honed his speech skills by practicing with labourers on his farmstead.

It’s simply a fact that if you rehearse your public speaking or presentation, you will give a better performance when it comes to delivery.

So what do you need to rehearse? Well, firstly check your content for timing, and refine it down. Practice for style, focusing on your vocals, non-verbal communication and visuals. Think about your use of technology, anticipate what may go wrong and have back-up plans ready. Also remember to revise for questions and answers.

And what is the best way to rehearse? Actually, there is no one single right way.

Some people prefer to practice on their own. And this could be as simple as just speaking out loud, or just speaking the words in your head. This could be layered with moving and gesturing in front of a mirror, or practicing in the dark to aid ‘muscle memory’. You could then overlay this with practicing in front of a video camera and watch it back to critique yourself.

Alternatively, some people prefer to practice in front of one or two people. The advantage of this is that it’s a live, albeit small, audience. But because it’s a small audience it helps you develop a more personal and conversational tone, which is what you are after. You can also get some helpful feedback.

And when it comes to delivering the speech or presentation, be sure to ask someone in the audience beforehand for feedback, so you can continue to improve.

You may also like: Bad speaking habits of senior leaders

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*