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Business, Presentation Tips, Public speaking, Winning New Business

Presentation Tips – Rehearsal

“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.


About gristpresent

Presentation, Q&A and Engagement Coach. We help you win more business. Also BAFTA-winning film maker. See our new site www.grist.co.uk


2 thoughts on “Presentation Tips – Rehearsal

  1. So long as time and forward planning allow, I’ll try to get in about 3 or 4 rehearsals, but spread across 3 or 4 consecutive days. 1 rehearsal a day.

    Just as effective? Or do you think there’s extra power in having one whole day of nothing but rehearsal to really drive content into the memory?

    Posted by Peter | May 31, 2012, 1:04 pm
    • Peter
      I think your way would be better. So much more thinking time to clarify and simplify, but, in our world we often have to get 6-10 people in a room at the same time so that dictates the form. I should add, we will have done some planning long before the rehearsal day (in theory)
      One day is very effective though. Just one order of business and few other distractions. When we used to do live TV one of the joys is everyone is totally focussed on what’s in front of them.

      Thanks for the feedback, and the RT

      Posted by gristpresent | May 31, 2012, 4:02 pm

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