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Practice Makes Perfect!
Rehearsing your presentation is your key to delivering a successful presentation. Even if you've been doing the same presentation for years, you'll want to practice the different aspects of your delivery in the fine tuning process of rehearsing. Here's what you can do to have successful practice that will make your delivery a success every time.
The first step is to write out your speech word for word. Write it as you would say it or would intend to say it. Include every piece of information including what you would say about your visual or audio aids. Every word you put on paper will impact what your audience picks up in your presentation.
Read your written speech out loud. Tape record yourself to get some idea of what your presentation sounds like. Note the length of your presentation and also if the points you want to emphasize are actually the ones being emphasized. Refine and retune your message until you are confident the message you are sending is the one you want to send. Also, practice speaking your presentation the way you would want to say it - with passion and enthusiasm. Yes, enthusiasm does have to be practiced.
Condense your written speech into outline form. Once you've created your written speech and you've taken the time to revise it, the next step is to turn your written speech into a condensed outline with notes. You don't want to read your speech to your audience. You want to speak spontaneously and make your presentation flow. The key is to have notes that are easy to read. Remember to also make notes about the flow of your enthusiasm levels during the presentation.
Once you've created your notes, tape your spontaneous speech. In this recording, review the timing of your presentation. Listen for the number of times you've said filler words like "umm", "er" and "ah". Work on eliminating these words and re-record yourself until you speak smoothly and confidently. Also work on presenting your speech with the emphasis and passion that you intend to deliver it. Working the emotions of your audience will help them feel more connected with you and your material.
Practice your presentation in front of a practice audience. The primary goal of this section is to get constructive feedback. You will want to find out if you made your points clearly and accurately. You will also want to know if you were speaking too fast or too slow. You'll also want to know if there were too many of those distracting words in your presentation. A secondary goal is to gain more confidence and feel more comfortable in making your presentation.
Rehearsal is the key to your success as a professional speaker! Practicing more than just your topical information, you'll need to practice the method of delivery you choose. Here's to your success!
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