This article is a continuation of a series offering 100 tips for delivering a masterful presentation that will leave them cheering for more.
This article examines rehearsal: tips for learning your material.
Tip 11 – Practice until you procedural memory takes over
Rehearsal is the bane of most performers. They do it anyway. Because repetitious, mind-numbingly boring, practice sessions are the pathway to procedural memory.
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, discovered that “it takes 10,000 hours of practice to fully master a subject.”
An example of a subject many people have mastered is driving their cars too and from work. After hours of practice, the car just seems to know the way. The same dynamic is true of presentation material.
When your brain knows you presentation as well as your car knows the way home, your mind is free to focus on delivery, not content. For more detail on practice, see Steve Jobs Practice makes perfect for Steve Jobs, http://www.examiner.com/article/practice-makes-perfect-for-steve-jobs
Tip 12 – Verify your script is written to be said, not read
While working at Epcot, this Examiner got a chance to see an advance copy of US President George H. W. Bush’s speech. It was a surprising mix of non-sentences and abbreviated thoughts. The speechwriters, knowing that the President talked in clipped syntax (IE-“Not going to do it,” “Wouldn’t be prudent,” and “Wait, watch and learn.”) wrote his script that way. Write an essay. Sometimes, written words sound terrible when spoken. Practice your, presentation, say what you are writing out loud. Make the text conversational. Make it verbal. Shorten long sentences. Use the smallest word possible that makes your meaning clear. Avoid tongue twisters. Speak in cadences. Use alliteration to link words. In short, write to be said, not read.
Tip 13 – Fix speech problems during rehearsal
Use your practice time to work out all the details of the presentation. Practice allows you to see verify the material flows properly; to tighten your phrases; to place your props in the best location for their use; and to prepare for possible problems. Begin with reading your script out loud. Then proceed to a standing rehearsal. Finally, do at least one complete, timed run through.
There may be related tips. Feel free to share your own.
In the next article of this series we will examine preparation and packing as we offer 100 tips for delivering a masterful presentation that will leave them cheering for more.