In today’s connected world, virtually all information is at our fingertips … or voice command. In response, our collective attention spans have shortened exponentially.
The result is the demise of the “Corporate Presentation Rehearsal.” In performing circles, rehearsal is alive and well. But in corporate circles, rehearsing a presentation is often seen as a time sink and relegated to running through notes over lunch, during a commute, or in an office taking to the wall.
What follows are four Presentation-Rehearsal Pro Tips when preparing an effective rehearsal structure.
- Rehearsing is a MUST: You may have brilliant ideas, but if you cannot communicate them, they are worthless. Harsh but true. Furthermore, your value is directly linked to the value your audience places on your presentation.
- Rehearse out loud: You must rehearse out loud in the space where you will be delivering your remarks, or one that is highly similar. How you hold your body; how you interact with the mic; how your voice feels in the actual environment; how you interact with visual support; none of this can be replicated in an office or cube.
- Do not memorize: Few people can effectively memorize a 20-minute presentation and deliver it with spontaneity. You may wish to script key parts of your remarks–and refer to notes at specific moments–but for the most part, work from bullet points and know what you want to say and how you want to say it. Your audience will have an easier time connecting with you as a human being if you are, indeed, speaking and acting like a human being.
- Give yourself a break. While it’s important to look professional, give yourself permission to make mistakes. If you’re properly prepared, a flub will not make you appear off-track or confused … it will make you appear normal. How you handle a flub or technical error says more about you than the actual error itself. When errors occur … and they will … simply correct yourself and move forward. If quizzed about it, the audience will most likely not remember it.
There are many other ways to prepare for a business presentation (take a deep dive into this subject here), but if you accept the fact that you must rehearse, in real time, in an appropriate space, and allow yourself to make mistakes, you’re well on your way to becoming a better, more successful speaker.