Take time to practice

By Betty Hintch, editor of American Speaker

Rushing has become an epidemic. We take shortcuts to accomplish more with the same or fewer resources at work, at home and in our communities. Perhaps that experience is fresh in your minds after having just experienced the “Holiday Rush.” It’s no small achievement to buy gifts, complete year-end deadlines and prepare holiday celebrations in time to gather with friends and family.

But speeches and presentations need time to ripen. You can squeeze in a few additional tasks by trimming a practice sessions. However, you probably won’t be happy with the result.

Imagine that your practice time is like a yoga session. A sense of calm and focus will net the best results. Ironically, by allowing yourself enough time to prepare, you’ll be ready more quickly and spend fewer sleepless nights worrying about your performance. Create a sense of calm around your practice sessions with these tips:

  • Adapt to a slower pace. Accept that you won’t be able to rush your practice sessions the way you race through other tasks. Set aside time and allow yourself all of it to rehearse your speech.
  • Commit to a timeframe. Develop a rehearsal schedule and stick to it. A clear idea of how much preparation time you need will make it easier to plan around other deadlines and tasks.
  • Limit distractions. Use the out-of-office reply option on your email system. Turn off cell phones and post a sign on your office door that you are unavailable. You’ll get more done if your attention isn’t divided between multiple tasks.  

How do you make time to practice your presentations? Share your tips in the Comment section.

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