Tips for Rehearsing for a Big Presentation

March 8, 2012

You have a much anticipated presentation coming up in just a short period of time. After revitalizing an old power speech, trying on your best business outfit, and giving yourself a make-over, it’s time to brush up on your speaking skills with a little rehearsal time. For most presenters, making sure that the presentation goes off without a hitch can be the most nerve-wracking aspect. By spending time rehearsing in front of a mirror or family members, you can create a more perfected presentation that will inspire listeners.

In order to get your rehearsal underway, it’s time to strategize the best method for prepping yourself for the big day. Here are some ways to get started.

Write your presentation down. One of the worst mistakes you can make as a presenter is to try to memorize your entire presentation as part of your rehearsal process. You are not practicing for a part in a play or movie here. Your listeners will expect you to have a few props or cue cards with you, which demonstrates your preparedness. So, write your keynotes down.

Get more physical. To get ready for your presentation, you must get physical. This means taking the time to physically prepare your body for the event, as much as you mentally prepare. You don’t want to get up on stage and suddenly experience shortness of breath, back and foot pain, or a red face from being overexerted  under hot lights. Get exercise at least three to four times a week for the month leading up to the event, so you can appear energized.

Be aware of body language. The physical expressions you make while speaking can have an impact on viewers. That’s why it’s important to get some professional advice on making yourself look as good as possible on stage, by avoiding common body behaviors that can become troublesome. Look out for crossing arms and legs. Don’t look down a lot, roll your eyes or talk out of the side of your mouth. You can practice these things up to the day of the event.

Evaluate your voice skills. Beyond the way in which you carry yourself on stage and your appearance, your voice is the most important aspect of your persona as a presenter. You can rehearse this by recording yourself as you practice your speech, and then mastering the art of intonations, which are the subtle ups and downs in speech. This will help you avoid becoming a dull drone as you present.

Learn your technology. There’s more to making presentations today than in the past, and that means advances in the technology used to showcase information. From digital slides and music to lighting and stage effects, you want to make sure everything is in place and you understand how it all works before your presentation day. If at all possible, get to the presentation space a couple of hours early and do a practice run through.

If you are struggling in any area of your rehearsal, you may benefit from getting expert advice from Dale Carnegie on public speaking tactics. You can be a much more effective presenter if you spend at least a few weeks rehearsing these new skills.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at DaleCarnegieTrainingofCentral & SouthernNewJersey. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter@CarnegieJersey.

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