We are told it as children, and all the way through our growth spurts – “practice makes perfect” – and with public speaking the same is true. However, so often people practice too much and start to sound regimented and stiff.
We’ve been there, attending a presentation or training event and the speaker or trainer just sounds like a script reader, rather than an engaged speaker. This is potentially because they have practiced so much that they can’t let in a little diversity to their talk. Although I do recommend practicing your talk, here are a few tips to ensure you don’t feel like a robot on stage.
- Give yourself a day off prior to the event. If you are planning on speaking at an event, I do not recommend practicing the night before. It’s just like when we are studying for tests, and cramming in the last minute revision can cause our mind to get overwhelmed with all the studying. Give your brain a rest, and know that you have got this!
- Practice in front of a wall, rather than a mirror. When we practice in front of a mirror, we often take note of how our mouth moves, the facial expressions we make, and other elements of our body which can distract us, as well as make us nervous about little things the audience will not notice. This is why I recommend speaking your talk out loud to the wall. This will give you the chance to really practice your talk in “real life” without being distracted by your own movements.
- Give yourself bullet points, rather than a script. This is often the issue with people learning presentations and then standing up and feeling a little robotic. Bullet-points on note cards are a great way to remind you the flow you wish to follow, without scripting out every little detail. It will enable you to follow your audience’s responses, and your own feelings on the day, whilst also following the main points of your talk.
I hope these three tips help you with your next presentation, and if you are feeling the nerves, please do get in touch. I help people just like you speak their truth with confidence, through 121 coaching, to help you craft a presentation with joy rather than fear, so you can share your fantastic story and knowledge with confidence.