Best ways to practice for a presentation

Practicing before presentations

Practice and presentations

Practice makes a man perfect, and that phrase rings true while preparing for presentations. So how many times should you practice getting it right? The general benchmark that is known as the magic 10 is considered standard is practicing at least 10 times right from the first slide till the end. That implies adding 10 to your speech time on the topic and adding a plus 10. For example, if your speech is 30 minutes long, you’ll have to practice for your presentation at least 40 times before you go up on stage.

Why are presentations important? Why practice for presentation matters?

From drawing in caves, fast-forward to presentations in the 21st century. We have been trying to achieve the same goal, which is to connect by just using a different and advanced medium now. Presentations can be a dealbreaker. Whether you are presenting your subject to your peers in a class, presenting a brand audit, or delivering an essential pitch to your client. 

Practice: the secret to becoming a better public speaker 

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

Benjamin Franklin

The quote pretty much sums up why practicing before your presentations is crucial. There’s little in life that can’t be made better by practicing. It not only has advantages, but also removes barriers and the risks of failing. Practicing acts as a shield. Helps you recognize and embrace your potential to further live up to it.

Why is practicing essential before delivering a presentation?

  • Cross out the flaws of speaking
  • Cut the redundant and unnecessary content in your speech
  • Reduce anxiety and stress
  • Analyze and re-analyze the different parts of the content in your speech and slides 
  • Feel less flustered around your audience
  • Brush up your presentation and communication skills
  • Point out your mistakes and uncomfortable moments 
  • Connect with the audience on a deeper level while being your authentic self
  • Set you apart from your peers
  • Refine the structure of your talk

Here are some of the best ways to practice for a presentation 

Record yourself when practicing for presentation

Recording method for presentation practice
Recording presentation

Recording yourself will enable you to see yourself from the point of view of your audience. Watching yourself give the delivery of a speech will help you see how you communicate with your audience, both verbally and non-verbally. You will be able to see if your words match your actions. Observing yourself will give you time to reflect if you are doing your best to be the one that leaves a lasting impression on your audience. Find a place that is similar to where you are going to perform, where you can practice loud enough and be comfortable doing it.

Practice reading out loud for presentation

Reading out loud practice technique
Reading out loud practice technique

Hearing your own voice and words will help you know if your audience will understand your message. You will understand if you need to adjust your pitch, tone, volume, intonation, and frequency. You will be able to mark the places in your content that don’t flow well, which you can change any of them. Able to catch the repetitive points, and find the words that are fillers.

4 Simple ways to practice your speech

Find out the spaces that need emphasis, slowing down your speech rate, and pauses to create anticipation. Skim and scan the outline of your speech, find the loose ends. Simplify the jargon or any terms that are not easy to grasp. Remember the effectiveness of the presentation based on how you present it. But how much your audience is able to understand your message better. See where room for improvement can be made. Find your stride.

Practice with a small group of friends or in front of your family under mild stress 

practicing with small group

You become self-aware while you record yourself and read out loud. Self-exam is good, but what’s better is preparing for the real circumstances.  You can have a group of friends or family in front of you as your audience. Reading out loud will make you aware of all the other aspects of your presentation, as well as give you a sense of being a real audience. 

You can practice for the presentation in front of them under mild levels of stress, which allows you to see their reactions to your speech. You can also get their valuable feedback on your slide presentations. Ask them if they have any questions and prepare ahead of time when the real time. This will also boost your confidence. 

Another benefit is that it will boost your confidence and lessen your anxiety. Usually, when you are anxious, your brain goes into fight or flight mode. Practicing in front of a crowd will give your brain the signal that it is okay to perform in front of an audience. Eventually, grasping that the situation is not a threat. 

Time yourself while practicing for presentation speech

Timing when practicing for presentation

Time is a luxury when you are in meetings or delivering a pitch to your client. You only have a certain amount of time to nail the speech and say all that you want to in that limited period. Deadlines are important, and respecting them is just as important.

You can use a stopwatch or put on a timer to know how much time you take to deliver your speech. Practice by knowing that you have a limited time. This will help you focus, avoid being redundant and keep your message concise. Helping you deliver your presentation just in time. 

If you are using PowerPoint, it has the feature of recording and timing your presentation as well. You can select slideshow > to rehearse timings, and click on the next arrow to move to the next slide. You will see a pause icon indicating the time on your current slide to your right. Furthermore, you can pause and resume if you want to resume recording it. Pro-tip, you can go to view and then click on slide sorter to know how much time you are giving to each slide as well. 

Rehearse for practicing your presentation and incorporate the feedback of your audience

Method of practicing for presentation with audiences' feedback
Rehearsal practice for presentations

Now that you have presented and practiced by yourself and in front of a crowd. And monitored your speech rate to finish the presentation on time.  You can practice in front of your audience and ask them for feedback. You can ask them how comfortable they are giving you feedback. People are more likely to give honest feedback, especially if you let them respond anonymously.

No one ever said practicing is easy. Don’t let the criticism take you down. In fact, take it positively and try to incorporate the feedback of your audience the next time you practice. Again, find an empty room and rehearse out loud.  You will notice that after going through all the steps again you will have a better and more refined speech structure to follow. Your nervousness will also decrease when you perform the actual presentation.

Combining passion and perseverance for practicing for presentation

Speak with passion

Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight

– A Chinese proverb

No one ever achieves success overnight. You need to strive for it. You may have the talent and the potential to achieve something. But to bridge that gap between the potential to succeed involves a lot of hard work and practice. You will have hard times when the whole presentation doesn’t match the visualization that you may have in your head. 

Psychologist Angela Duckworth says that to keep perseverance up in any field of expertise you need great passion in any area.

Getting to that point will require more time to be put into practice for the speech and the way that you want to present it. Perseverance is necessary, but without having a passion for your subject you will fail to deliver results. Therefore, it is necessary to have a combination of both while you practice. 

No one breezes through their speech and makes it look effortless. There goes a lot of effort into keeping in mind every thought, every move, and every word in mind is intentional, well-planned, and rehearsed. Some of these famous personalities like Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ronald Reagan, are widely known for having delivered their signature speeches. You will be surprised to know the fact that they were nailed to perfection after years of deliberate practice. 

Practice using memory-boosting techniques for presentation

Practice your talk with memory-boosting methods
Memorization techniques for practicing presentations

We all sat in a room with a speaker giving an important presentation. The room feels full of thick air tension that could be sliced open with a knife. As the person stutters when their words and actions don’t match, clearly nervous and unsure of what to do with their hands. Everyone sitting in the audience shaking their head, just eyeing each other, feeling bored, disconnected, lisping words, and feeling sorry for the person. Knowing that they have lost the deal, failing to impress the client with their poor communication skills. Sounds familiar? 

Practice requires you to follow a pattern of repetition. And it is proven by researchers that through repetition, short-term memory has the potential to be long-term memory. You have a better approach to the verbal framework of your presentation. And can follow a logical flow and outline of your content in your mind. 

Practice for presentation during the afternoon:

Another surprising fact that will help you boost your memory is to practice during the afternoon. According to the PSB Academy, studying in the afternoon enables you to absorb and hold information that is new into something that you already know. Studying in the afternoon has proven for people to have higher recollection and effective long-term memorization as compared to those who study in the morning or evening.

Use a trigger word:

You can use a keyword in your pointers that will help you remember the message you want to deliver to your audience. During the process, you will also get to reconsider and recognize the important parts of your speech that need highlighting and what needs to be cut out from your content.

Use visual clues:

You can create and create a mind map in your presentation itself. Which will prompt you to remember your content better and in an interesting way. You can use different elements in your presentation to make it appealing to look at. You won’t have to fumble for words or use flashcards to remember your speech. And will be able to transition better between the points.

Use the 20-20-20 rule: 

The rule implies that you should spend twenty minutes of your time reviewing your presentation. Giving attention to the details of all the aspects of your presentation that includes your slides, content, speech structure, etc. And then repeat your content for twenty minutes twice to help you remember it better. 

Experiment with different methods for your next presentation:

In the end, remember your audience will remember how you made them feel. So, create an experience that is immersive that will make a lasting impression on your audience. Start with a great opening and keep your audience interested. Maintaining eye contact with your audience makes them feel seen, which more likely makes them notice you and pay attention to what you are saying. Welcome comments and questions from them. Moreover, take charge, be your authentic self, and polish up on everything that you have practiced for the presentation. Remember that there will surely be setbacks that you will have to overcome and rise above. You can come up with a few other techniques of your own that make the process fun and enjoyable for you as well. Use the power of effective communication

Read blogs on how to practice for presentations:

Reading and skimming through public speaking coaching and public speaking blogs and websites will help you with tips and techniques. You will better understand where you can leverage your strengths and assess your weaknesses. Improve on them when practicing for your presentations.

Conclusion

Rather than stressing yourself out at the end moment. Be consistent with your practice because the results are worth it. Sure, there are many practicing techniques like the 20-20-20 rule, 10-20-30 rule,555 rule, and others that can do wonders to help you. But there is no golden formula for pulling it all together or nailing it down. Practicing gives you the opportunity to ace that pitch, get you those grades or rope that client in, or make your boss say yes to your out-of-the-box idea for your next ad campaign. Practicing will make your presentation look effortless. And also leave room for spontaneity, to interact with your audience, enhance your vocal delivery.

Practicing can be a total game-changer when you do it with passion and perseverance. It creates room for improvement, leaves a lasting impression on your audience, helps you with time management, and crafts a cohesive presentation. After practicing, you will be able to breeze through your wobbly moments, giving an excellent presentation as you feel more comfortable and confident. The delivery of your speech comes naturally to you, and you can decipher your body language along with managing deadlines. 

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