How would you like to sound completely spontaneous and confident, compelling and engaging when you present? You can with plenty of practice. Practice is your accelerator to improve in any area of your life, especially when it comes to public speaking. The more you practice the better you will become; it's an age old maxim. Consider that the masters in the world continue to practice over and over again. Consider that you are a "master," practicing.
Every rehearsal counts whether it's by yourself, in front of a mirror or in front of a colleague, or whether it's an actual presentation, it's another practice. Take every opportunity to present and rehearse.
It's been said that Zig Ziglar prepares and practices 1 hour for every 1 minute of his presentations. And, he's incredibly successful. It just goes to show that you can't practice enough.
Here are tips for how to best practice for a polished presentation, calmed nerves and a confident, engaging YOU:
- Rehearse your intro and ending so that you have them completely down. Write them out and commit them to memory. Practice in front of a mirror, in front of a colleague, while commuting. Plan to take questions from the audience before your ending so that you are leaving the audience with your last message. Great intros include telling a story about a big mistake you made in business or life and the lesson you learned. Everyone can relate; this type of intro engages your audience.
- As you practice, you may change your material. Joe Takash of Victory Consulting in Chicago has an interesting way to identify how effective you will be. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, Takash divides his typed up material into color coded categories: 1) humor is in red, 2) audience interaction is in blue; 3) humor and interaction is green; and 4) information is black. Points that need to be emphasized are bolded. When he has completed the color coding, he looks for a nice blend of the colors, not too much red or too much black. Go for a balance of all the colors, so that you aren't trying to be too funny or depending too much on any one aspect of humor, interaction and content.
- Videotape yourself. You can be your best critic. It might be difficult to watch yourself on video but it's well worth it. You can really see how you look and are coming across so that you know what you want to improve.
- Practice different styles and techniques. Really give yourself room to play with your presentation when you practice. This is your chance to shout, move around, speak in a whisper, be dramatic, ham it up, and be conversational.
- Practice with a live audience. Have your "practice audience" ask you questions so you can practice how to handle them.
Tthere you have it, the 4P's for Mastering Public Speaking:
- Passion - the Driver
- Power - the Fuel (knowledge is power; knowledge of topic/audience/techniques.)
- Preparation - the Vehicle
- Practice - the Accelerator
Keep mastering these points and you will have a great ride !