Rehearsal and practice are the key to creating a successful presentation. That is, the right rehearsal and practice. Practicing your speech while driving in your car or watching TV is NOT the right kind of practice. Instead, you must speak it out loud. Try walking around your office with your speech outline in your hand and speaking it verbally where your ears can hear it. Do this over and over and soon you will become the script.
The Master Speaker’s Rehearsal Formula:
You need to practice 1 hour for every 2 minutes of speech. That means for a 30-minute signature talk you need to rehearse for 15 hours. That is how you become good and stand above all the other business speakers.
Most people do not practice enough. They practice for 5-10 minutes and they step out on stage and they fail.
You want to practice so much that you push through the fear and become the script. Becoming the script is when your speech no longer sounds memorized, instead it flows very naturally. It even becomes automatic and does not sound like you are thinking about it. That way you leave room for other thoughts and idea to happen. For example, if you get an inspiration that you need to share a story because someone in your audience needs to hear it, then you have the freedom to do so without getting lost. You will know your script so well that you can easily return to where you left off, without skipping a beat. That is the beauty of the right rehearsal and practice.
Benefits of Rehearsing Your Speech
Additionally, the process of thoroughly practicing, eliminates any fear and anxiety about your speech because you know exactly what you will say and when you say it. Plus, you will be able to stay on time. This is a critical rule of speaking. You must stay within your allotted speaking time. If you do not, you run the risk of not being invited back. Another significant benefit of rehearsing your speech is to gain absolute clarity of your material and conciseness in how you present it. This is gold.
The Structure of a Well Crafted 30-Minute Speech
If you are concerned about the allotted time, when you have a 30-minute speech, break it down this way: 7.5 minutes for rapport building, 15 minutes for content (education piece), and 7.5 minutes for the close.
This will give you twice as much content (15 minutes) as each of the beginning and end. For other timed speeches, take a quarter of the time to use for the beginning and end and use half the time for the middle. This makes for a well-balanced speech.
It is okay to script out the beginning and the close of your presentation and practice it. And when you practice 1 hour for every two minutes, you will start saying it the same way every time and you will know each element backwards and forward and you will know exactly how much time they take. For example, when I tell my professional story it sounds the same every time because I have practiced it out loud.
Script the Beginning Elements
For the beginning of your presentation (the first 7.5 minutes), you plan out these elements,
- Attention grabber
- Thank you
- Your professional story (this earns you the right to be speaking about your topic)
- A transition statement
How to Prepare and Practice
The meat, otherwise known as your teaching points, should be rehearsed from your outline. Be careful not to script out the meat because you will inevitably stumble especially when you have fallen in love with your copywriting.
For a 30-minute talk, we know that we can present 3-5 teaching points or “pieces of meat.” If your speaking time is cut or you find yourself with 15 minutes left, you just cut out a couple of slices of the meat. For example, instead of 5 teaching points, you will know you will need to go with 2 or 3. You do not have to recreate your speech. The beginning stays the same, the close stays the same, you just change up the middle of your speech.
How to Develop and Practice the Meat
Next, you outline your teaching points and principles. This is your knowledge, stories, and testimonials. When you are practicing the 3-5 educational pieces and the outline you crafted, allow space and freedom for creativity. Walk around your office as you practice. When you get an idea, write it down. That could be a special story or a soundbite that is good. Then you can incorporate it into your talk.
Some people record their practice session. If you want to go that route, record it after you have perfected it. Especially if you are overly critical as the reviewing the recording can impact your momentum. Practice until you have got it right and feel confident with it. Then you can record it or practice in front of someone. Remember the people you choose to practice in front of are not a public speaking coach. So, take their input with a grain of salt. The person to trust is a public speaking trainer or coach because they have the experience and background. When rehearsing, imagine your target audience in front of you. What do you want to say to them? What do you want to teach them? What stories and testimonials do you have to back up your points? You do not need to use a story after each point. Instead, mix it up, use a story, example, metaphor, or case study to back up each point. Be creative.
Rehearsing The Closing
It is important to rehearse the close five times more often than the body of your speech. The beginning by default gets more rehearsal time. However, it is the close that gets you the client, leads, and money. Make sure you invest extra time when rehearsing the close.
The elements of the close include the following.
- Transition statement
- Let the audience know you are complete with teaching points
- Question and answer session (if you have time)
- The invitation or call to action
- Appreciate your audience – Do not say thank you
- Memorable statement. What do you want to leave them with?
Rehearsing is an art. When you carefully craft your speech and rehearse it out loud until you become the script, you will deliver it with clarity, confidence, and power.