Power Presentations Tip 32: Smart Practice
Rehearse your presentation
Practice doesn't make you perfect. If you are practising the wrong way you'll be consistently bad. Smart practice makes you better but never perfect.
Condense your presentation into keywords that help you remember your points. Write those keywords on index cards.
Rehearse your presentation standing on your feet because that is probably the way you will deliver it. Mimic the presentation environment to make it more productive for you. If you can rehearse in the room where you will present, do it.
The first time (or first few times) through, focus on getting your words right. Then rehearse some more and integrate your voice inflections and gestures.
Rehearse in front of a mirror if possible. But don't stare at the mirror. Notice your body language and facial expressions. Make a point of rehearsing your eye movement to make eye contact with everyone in your audience.
Run through your presentation from start to finish several times. Also, and more importantly, rehearse pieces of the presentation as modules. For example, work on your opening, polish your close and then pick pieces from the body to improve. Breaking the presentation up into modules makes it easier to remember and get back on track if you get lost during the live presentation.
Practise in private. You might feel awkward but do it. I always feel uncomfortable rehearsing my presentation but I know I must do it to ensure success.
At some point you might practise your presentation in front of a colleague. Pick someone whom you trust and respect. Explain your purpose and ask them for specific feedback. Don't ask, "How was I?" And don't expect your staff to give you constructive feedback. They'll be inclined to say, "Boss, you're perfect."
How many times should you rehearse your presentation? That depends on several things. How important is this presentation? How familiar are you with the material? What new techniques are you planning to use? How tough will your audience be?
I believe that you can't practise too much. Just ask golf legend, Tiger Woods and tennis champion, Roger Federer.
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Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.