Speech Rehearsal tips for Maximum Effectiveness
So you have crafted the perfect content for your presentation, polished your visual aids if any, prepared for the questions and answers session; but still, you feel you are not ready? Every speaker suffers from public speaking anxiety in one form or another. Despite speaking for years in front of different kinds of audiences, a vast majority of speakers still get jittery every time they walk on stage. However, with some speech rehearsal and practice, this jitteriness can be easily overcome.
A few years ago I was in a technical IT related conference and had the opportunity to hear from Grant Asplund, who was the Director of Evangelism for a leading IT Security company at that time. Grant gave a flawless presentation and I was completely floored by his charisma on stage. Later during the coffee break, I reached out to him and asked him the secret to his highly successful presentation. He mentioned that he had rehearsed the same presentation over 100 times and that he does a rehearsal a day before he goes up on stage each time. That is the level of commitment shown by highly successful speakers.
Now the question is – what are some speech rehearsal techniques for maximum effectiveness. Read on:
Know your Audience:
Analyze your audience in advance and tailor your talk to their technical level, their interest, and their background. I cannot stress this more. In case your audience is a highly technical bunch of individuals who have gathered to understand the intricate details of your technical solution – by all means, go into as much depth as you can. You can use jargons. You can assume that your audience would understand most of what you are going to talk about.
Practice your speech in front of different audiences
Prepare to give your speech to your friends, your family members, your office colleagues, your dog or anyone who would care to listen. Check with the audience for their understanding of your message and make sure the key message is clear to all kinds of audiences. If possible, take a pre-printed handout seeking feedback on the key areas of your speech and ask everyone to fill it out.
Video record your rehearsal speech
Have someone video-record your speech when you stand up on stage and speak for practice. Playback the video recording several times and try to pick up nuances where you can improve.
- First, watch the speech with the volume turned off – this would help you focus on observing improvements in your stage movement, body language, and hand gestures.
- Next, listen to the speech with only audio turned on – this would help you pick up improvement areas in your vocal variety and help identify if you need to alter your pitch, pace, or volume.
- Last, watch the speech with both audio and video turned on to look at the speech as a whole.
Anticipate the Questions and plan for them
Master your material and anticipate the common questions that might come up. Be ready for answers to the common questions and announce to the audience in the beginning if you are going to take questions at the end or in the middle of the session.
On the day of the presentation
Arrive early. Test out logistics. Get a feel for the stage and the speaking area. Introduce yourself to the attendees. Try to remember names of people and ‘speak to them’ as you deliver your talk.
Suggested reading: Public Speaking Essentials for Everyone
About the Author
Puneet Wadhwa, the author of this blog – Speak to Succeed! is an IT Business Executive by profession, and a Public Speaker and Leadership trainer by passion. He has been professionally speaking for many years and has won several awards for his public speaking engagements. He presents corporate trainings and seminars to corporations and associations whose people want to speak and lead effectively. To contact Puneet, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form at http://www.speaktosucceed.in/about-me/.