Practice Makes Perfect ? 7 Tips for Making the Most of Your Presentation Practice

Believe it or not, preparation is a better determinant of presentation success than knowledge, experience, or even talent. The best presenter is almost always the presenter who is the most prepared. Even so, there are a lot of conflicting ideas about what constitutes thorough presentation preparation.

So what exactly is thorough preparation?

Here are seven straight forward tips to increase the effectiveness of the time you invest in your practice.

1. Practice Delivery Out Loud. Practice is NOT mentally rehearsing your presentation on the drive over to the presentation or even thinking about your presentation while tossing and turning at night. Both of these are something, but not practice. A lot can happen between thinking about what you want to say and actually getting the words to come out of your mouth coherently. If you don't actually practice speaking out loud, when the time comes, you may struggle to articulate your mentally well rehearsed thoughts. To the audience, this struggle will appear to be lack of preparation.

2. Try to Conduct Your Practice in a Situation Similar to the Real Speaking Venue. Whenever possible, conduct your practice in a situation that closely mirrors the real presentation. For example, if you will be speaking in front of a large group in an auditorium or large conference room, try to practice in a large room filled with as many audience recruits as possible. Why? Research indicates that if your practice closely mirrors your real presentation, once you are in the actual presentation your brain will think you have done this before. Besides practice, the next most important ingredient in your success is experience.

3. Practice in Front of Real People. If you can't find any audience recruits at work, ask your spouse, best friend, or if all else fails, your pet to listen to your presentation. Interacting with a live audience is an important part of your practice. It helps you not only rehearse your delivery, but gain experience reading and reacting to the silent messages your audience is sending you about their understanding, their likes, and their dislikes.

4. The Mirror is Your Friend. Even after you've practiced in front of an audience, continue to rehearse in front of the greatest critic of all, yourself in the mirror. The mirror is a WONDERFUL if underused presentation practice tool. It will allow you to see and hear your delivery live and make decisions about how to enhance your style. Remember, when it comes to practicing your presentation, the mirror really is your friend.

5. Practice From Beginning to End Without Stopping. Practice all the way through the presentation without stopping-even if you make a mistake. Most presenters have a tendency to stop their practice each time they make a mistake. Besides reinforcing this negative practice, when you continually stop and start over you get very good at the beginning of the presentation, but can't deliver an effective conclusion because you've rarely made it to the end of the presentation. As the second most remembered part of your presentation, it is important to have a strong, well-rehearsed close.

6. Practice With Your Props. If you are using visual aids such as a PowerPoint slide show, make sure you practice with your slides. Visual aids of any kind add another layer of complexity to presentation and require practice to use effectively. Practicing with your slides will help prepare you for the things that inevitably go wrong and help you avoid unprofessional behaviors such as not knowing how to advance your slide show or how to put the slide show in the proper view for display.

7. Do it One More Time. After you feel you've done it well in practice and are happy with your performance, practice one more time to make sure your success wasn't just a happy accident. All in all, depending upon you and your content, you may need to practice your presentation delivery out loud 5 to 10 times. Yes, that's right, you might have to practice out loud up to 10 times, but don't worry, your audience's thundering applause will make the effort worthwhile!

Debbie Bailey is a well-known Presentation Skills Consultant and author of the book "15 Presentation Secrets - How to WOW Even the Toughest Audience," available at trainer2go.com/ebooks.html. For more information about Debbie, go to http://www.trainer2go.com.

Lecturing from the Lectern

Most people love to hide behind the lectern.. It makes them feel more secure. The... Read More

Eight Success Tips for Your First Trade Show Booth

Exhibiting in a trade show can involve a major investment of money and time. But... Read More

27 Tips For An Effective Presentation

So you're not a professional speaker. That's no excuse for NOT giving a professional presentation.You... Read More

Group Meetings: Being Prepared Makes a Difference

MANAGING MEETINGS--BEING PREPARED MAKES A DIFFERENCE: You can schedule all the meetings you want to,... Read More

Tips to Energize Your Presentations

"There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet... Read More

Leaves Your Audience Hungry For More! -- Presentations That Get Results

Regardless, if your goal is to make a sale or educate. You don't want to... Read More

Kvetching Behavior and How it Hinders Success

Kvetching is the Yiddish word for complaining, hand to the forehead, why is this happening... Read More

1,000,001 Reasons To Connect With Your Audience

Eye contact is mandatory when giving a public presentation.The goal of public speaking is to... Read More

35 Surefire Ways to Kill a Meeting

1. Play "find the meeting" by changing the location and time of your meeting at... Read More

Transitions: Building Bridges to Your Points

Presenters often tell me that they fear losing their train of thought. When listening to... Read More

Be Bold, Branded, and Bespoke - Your Customers Want You to Choose

I had been working on a logo idea for several weeks before I finally realized... Read More

Building a Trade Show Display

If you are taking your newest products to a trade show then you will need... Read More

Steps to a Successful Audience/Trainer Relationship

A major cause of trainers being unreceptive to their audience is stage fright. Being so... Read More

Chairing A Meeting The Most Effective Way

How many times have you attended a meeting where the only thing that gets decided... Read More

How Storytelling Can Grow Your Business

People love stories. We love to hear about other people, and stories help us to... Read More

Trade Show Victory!

So you're going to have a booth at a trade show. How exciting - or... Read More

Polishing Your Sales Presentation

Summer is here! It's time to bring out your summer attire, take a vacation and... Read More

Handling Questions with Authority

At some point in your presentation you will be expected to answer questions from your... Read More

The Right Speaker Makes a BIG DIFFERENCE

MORE and more corporations in Malaysia have awoken to the necessity of training and developing... Read More

Top 6 Reasons Why You Need a Remote for PowerPoint Presentations

A top complaint from audience members is that many presenters put too much emphasis on... Read More

The Presentation After the Presentation

Allowing the audience to ask questions after your presentation is an excellent way to reinforce... Read More

Plasma Screen Hire ? What Do You Need to Know for Presentations

How many people will need to see the screen? A 42" plasma screen is the... Read More

Being Real From the Platform

"Let it be known, no person, thing, or situation can validate you. You validate... Read More

Communication Barriers and Simplifying the Communication Process

The communication process can be much more difficult than a person thinks. Unfortunately, many times... Read More

How to Convert PowerPoint to Flash Manually

Converting PowerPoint to Flash would be absolutely a good choice to distribute your bulky PowerPoint... Read More

Presentation Pitfalls Series: Top 10 Content Mangement Mistakes

Here, David Letterman style, are what I consider to be the Top 10 most common... Read More

Present Statistics In Context

"I didn't have 3000 pairs of shoes. I had only 1600 pairs." Imelda MarcosEverything's relative.... Read More

Quick and Easy Rehearsal Tips

Never rehearse at the last minute. This creates undue tension and nervousness and does not... Read More

Powerpoint Sales Presentations Are Boring - Stop It!

As the meeting began, the project manager of the buying committee told me that the... Read More

Give Your Audience Something to Talk About

There is an old saying: "The first thing to do when the audience goes to... Read More

Top Ten Rules for Effective Presentations

I am of the belief that the majority of people can improve their presentations dramatically... Read More

Special Delivery! Tips for Improving Your Humor

Delivering humorous speeches involves a lot more than simply having good material. Take some time... Read More

The Ten Essential Tips On Writing A Powerful And Persuasive Presentation

Have you ever had to give a speech?Do you remember that feeling? A knot in... Read More

Total Recall: How to Remember Your Speech Without Memorizing

We all fear that moment. You look out on a sea of faces and your... Read More

Planning a Group Meeting

CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EFFECTIVE FACILITATOR: As chairperson, focus on the meeting's goals and objectives throughout... Read More

The Secret Language of Money

At a number of business seminars and presentations, I passed out an index card and... Read More

The Missing Link in Presentation Skills Training

Imagine you are the most amazing figure skater who ever lived. When rehearsing in a... Read More

Incorporate Humor in Your Next Speech

Some speakers say, "I could never use humor in my speech; I just don't feel... Read More

I Love the Smell of PowerPoint in the Morning: The 5 Sensory Approach to Business Presentations

You're in a conference room. You're giving a PowerPoint presentation to several of your colleagues...and... Read More

Super Preparation ? Keys to Getting a Great Start to Every Presentation

Super Preparation ?Keys to Getting a Great Start to Every Presentation Novice and expert presenters... Read More

How to Chair a Meeting

You don't have to be on a stage to be a public speaker. Your platform... Read More

Wow! Is That ME? - Creating a Powerful One-Page Bio

First of all, what is a bio sheet and why do you need one? A... Read More

Presentation Paranoia

"The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you... Read More

Data Visualization Flash Charts: Information in a Flash

Flash chart, flash map, flash graph may be mistaken for flashy visual aids. It is... Read More

Let Me Tell You a Little Story

Once upon a time there was a businessperson who had the task of convincing an... Read More

Media Training Tips: Maximising Your Media Moment

Media training is a 'must do' professional development program for any serious leader or manager.Media... Read More

Facilitating Panel Discussions

A client recently called to say she was going to facilitate a panel for the... Read More

Why You Need a Lesson Plan

LESSON PLAN DEVELOPMENT: Lesson plans, believe it or not, are a lot like the maps... Read More

The Seven Deadly Sins of Presentations

Every day, so many tens of thousands of innocent clients and employees are bored to... Read More

Choosing the Right Work Shirts for Your Small Business

Company attire says a lot about your business philosophy to your customer. Company shirts project... Read More