Think you don’t need to prepare for your next speech? Think again

Speaking coaches tell you to practice, practice, practice. Here’s why to take their advice to heart.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Any speaking coach worth his or her salt will tell you that the one thing speakers don’t do enough of is practice. It’s not at all unusual for me to suggest a two- to-three month horizon to prep for a major talk, only to have the speaker exclaim, “But I’ve never spent more than two days getting ready!”

If I had a nickel for every time a client said that, I could quit coaching and live quite comfortably.

But when you’re getting ready to give a speech, you might want to know some of the many reasons coaches urge practice before you dismiss it out of hand.

First and foremost, practice gives you room to make mistakes and correct them without an audience present. I like to say, “If you’re going to screw up, wouldn’t you rather do that privately with me than in front of the audience?”

More than that, practice lets you take something from good to great, from tentative to polished. You can find out where you stumble and stutter and come up with workarounds. You can learn whether that move you want to make across the stage works in real life. You will find out which parts of your script or slides just don’t stick in your memory bank and adjust them.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.