8 effective ways to practice a speech

Mentally running through your slides doesn’t count as practice. Here’s what does.

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“I have read my slides, therefore I have practiced.” RenĂ© Descartes

Descartes didn’t actually say that, but you say it all the time.

“I absolutely practiced,” you’ll tell me. But I’ll be skeptical.

As a speaker coach and presentation trainer, I’ve heard every dodge in the book about whether you practiced your talk, speech or presentation.

There are advantages for speakers who practice, but most speakers just flip through their slides or notes, read silently to themselves, decide to rely on the text or slides, and don’t bother practicing out loud. Or people will “practice” while sitting at their desks, even when they’re going to be standing up and moving around during the presentation.

It’s almost worse if you’ve given the presentation before. “I’ve got this,” you say. “I’ll just go out there and kill it.” There’s a special hell waiting for experienced speakers who get on stage and find out that a little practice would have smoothed the rough edges of their talks.

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