13 Oct Do I need to rehearse?

If you are nervous about going blank or waffling on or getting pulled ‘off track’ by strong audience members, and if you’re keen to come across as a confident, engaging and compelling presenter, it’s a good idea to warm up your mind or rehearse prior to presenting. In my experience, exceptional presenters rehearse! A typical executive who engages me to coach them would rehearse (especially their opening and close) between 50 and 100 times for important events. The more you run through your presentation, the clearer and more seamless your delivery and the more you will embed your message.

Rehearsing is where you run through the key messages over and over again, so you embed the general ‘gist’ of your message (and sometimes the result is that you will end up, almost accidentally, committing some of the parts of your message to memory). Whilst you may inadvertently memorise some of your content, you’ll find with rehearsal that you will deliver most of your message in a different way each time and the result is that you will sound more natural. I am guessing that you are too busy in your life to try and completely rote learn your presentations prior to delivery.

How should I rehearse?
I suggest you find a variety of places to practice your presentations. The greater number of locations you rehearse in, the more comfortable you will feel presenting in the actual location of your presentation — no matter where it is. Book a variety of meeting rooms over the course of a week at work; have a few turns in front of your bathroom mirror at home; go out into the garden for a practice if you can; and then try delivering your message in a variety of other rooms in your home. I know, it sounds a bit crazy, doesn’t it? Well, it works!