This week I am looking at some practical tips for you and your upcoming presentation.
If you have read my 7 Easy Steps or looked at the video, you will already know that I encourage you to practise your presentation as often as you can. I even advocate practising any kind of speech, whether its for an occasion or fictitious, because I know from my years (and years and years) of experience that practise really does make perfect….or as close as we can get!
So how do you practise without feeling self conscious? No easy solution, sorry. It takes time but you will be encouraged when you do take the time to practise and your subsequent presentation is a success. Success is a relative term – it could mean anything from your presentation was the best you have done to this point, you made the presentation at all or somewhere in between these extremes.
Back to practising. Start by reading your presentation through in your head. Next read it out loud. This is important as you can be comfortable reading something but when you have to actually say it, the words might trip you up. They might even be words you don’t normally have trouble with. That’s just one reason to practise!
Once you have read your speech out loud a few times, set up your phone or computer to record yourself, talking only – no video just yet. Play this back and note where you need to take more time, speak more clearly or change the tone of your voice. We are not looking to review the actual words/content at this point, focus on the presentation style.
By practising in this way, you give yourself an opportunity to fine tune your presentation to be able to present it as professionally as possible.
Want to take one more step?
Set up your phone to video you as you present your speech. This time when you review the presentation, look at how you stand, where you look, what you do with your hands, facial expressions to emphasise points, filler words (um, like, you know), habits you never knew you had (scratching your head, pulling at your hair). There are too many things here to look at in one pass of the video – you need to look at each of these individually (yes, you will get sick of looking at the video), then adjust your presentation to eliminate any negative impacts.
Conclusion – You know what I’m going to say. Practise is vital to improving your presentation style, regardless of how often you make a speech or how well you know the audience. Even after 30+ years, I still follow this regime. I read my speeches, I record them, I video myself presenting, then I review all these so I can give the best presentation possible on the day. I believe you should be doing the same.
Next time I’ll be looking at how you can create your very own speech template to make writing your speeches and presentations simpler.