“We’re terrible at presentations. We tend to do them in the train on the way down.” An un-named Architect.
If you have to say something out loud, every time you rehearse it, the better it will get.
Up to what number you ask? At least 10.
So if you don’t rehearse enough, you are deliberately ignoring an opportunity to be better.
Why do we do this?
Firstly because most of us hate rehearsing. It’s phoney. Not the real thing. A sham. We feel silly somehow.
Secondly we fear rehearsing. Even if it’s not the real thing it’s still scary.
A large part of your brain is still living in the rift valley. There are predators out there, so standing in the open without a weapon with lots of hostile eyes on you triggers a whole lot of feelings that make us feel bad…
But, you have newer parts of your brain that really should take over at this point.
Rehearsing works. So do it more.
Over the years we have had many people claim that they will get stale and over-rehearsed.
But that is just their fear talking. There is no such thing as over-rehearsed. Ask any actor. Ask any TV presenter.
There is tired. We observe that performance suffers terribly towards the end of a long day. Rehearsal is hard and requires you to think really hard for long periods of time while adrenalin is pumping. Tiredness makes us worse, and that damages the single most important thing for presentation delivery – confidence. So make sure you have enough time. Spend a day rehearsing, then do it again the next morning when you’re fresh.
Here’s how to rehearse a 30 minute presentation.
1. Stagger through (Like thinking aloud)
2. Edit, rewrite, reshape.
3. Rehearsal 1 (Scarily, in real life, this is often the real thing)
4. Get feedback. Edit re-write.
5. Rehearsal 2
6. Get feedback. Polish.
7. Rehearsal 3
Now you are close. I’ll admit that this is sometimes where we have to stop.
But, we would also advise 2 more rehearsals, out loud before doing it for real.
Sounds like overkill? Only because we have become comfortable with not being very good.
If you want to be better do more rehearsal. It’s that simple.