The Least Popular Secret to Public Speaking

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REHEARSE

After many years of leading presentation skills workshops, I’ve found that the number one thing people DON'T do when preparing to speak is rehearse. The majority of presenters spend 95% of their time working on their slide deck and just 5% practicing their actual talk. 

So here are three ways to get started:

  1. Plan rehearsals in advance—put time on your calendar and book a conference room for multiple run throughs well before your talk. This will give you deadlines to meet so you don’t leave it all to the last minute. 

  2. Record your run throughs using the voice memo or video function on your phone. Yes, it’s painful to hear yourself, but you owe it to your audience to give a listen.

  3. Get a test audience. Ask some friends and colleagues to sit in for a run through. Having real people in the room makes a big difference, and gives you a chance to practice making eye contact, as well as get some helpful feedback.

I guarantee if you follow these steps and practice out loud beforehand, you will be better. Steve Jobs was many things, not all great, but he was a great presenter because he rehearsed—A LOT.

Photo by Darius Soodmand on Unsplash