Public Speaking Skills Step 3: Practice

practice-practice-practiceYou’ve worked to Program Your Brain to face your fear of public speaking and have been working on Building Your Confidence. Now it’s time to practice or rehearse your presentation.

Because you are an expert on the subject you’ll be presenting, you know what you’re talking about. Let’s take that presentation and carefully look for pitfalls.

Power Point with a Point
Slides presentations are great tools but we’ve all sat through presentations where the speaker reads exactly what’s on each slide. And we all hate it! Slides should feature a headline or a few words and a picture or image that help tell your story. They are a supporting player in your presentation. You are the star.

There’s No Business Like…
Education + Entertainment: that’s what I call Edutainment, the balance between learning and enjoying. It’s far easier to pay attention and retain information when it’s presented as Edutainment. Personal experiences and anecdotes related to what might be dry subject matter can help the audience pay attention. Little surprises along the way have helped many speakers through the last hour of a day-long meeting. Create an experience for them, one they can retell with a smile.

Over and Over and Over
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice! Okay, old comedian material aside, you have to practice your presentation. Use your slides, props or handouts. If possible, get into the room you’ll be using. If you will be standing on a stage, stand while you practice. If you’ll be seated a conference table, practice that way.
If possible, rehearse in front of peers, and ask for questions, especially important if there will be a Q&A after your presentation.

How much practice is too much?  There’s no set limit, but you’ll know you’re ready when those six common fears we talked about earlier are gone, or at least not as noticeable.