We’ve all heard the usual tenets of speech preparation: Rehearse! Make flashcards! Record! People who give speeches regularly know that those practices are useful, but sometimes they’re not enough.
Use the following twists on traditional speech preparation to make your next presentation stand out:
- Don’t just rehearse—exercise while you memorize. Studies show that the endorphins released during exercise help increase memory. Take your script on the elliptical with you and you will find that the same amount of time you normally put into memorization yields better results. Similarly, making a presentation in front of an audience can raise your heart rate, releasing those same endorphins and shortening recall time.
- Don’t just make flashcards—mix and match them. Most people learn their presentations in an order: topic one helps get them to topic two and so on. But inevitably, something doesn’t go as planned: a technology glitch, an unexpected question or even a sneeze can send a presenter reeling. If the speaker’s mind gets off track, he or she can easily forget which part is next in order. Avoid the issue by writing one topic on each flashcard, mixing them up and selecting one at a time. Each time you pull out a card, recite that section of your presentation and name the topics that come before and after it. Repeat the process until you know your presentation inside and out, backwards and forwards.
- Don’t just record—press mute. The first time you play your video, mute the audio. That will help you focus in on your body language. Look for natural movements, eye contact and confident posture. The next time you play the video, don’t look at the screen. Just listen to yourself speak, honing in on fluidity, volume and how often you use fillers. The third time you play, watch and listen to yourself to make sure the timing of your movements flows well with your speech. Breaking up your presentation into its elements will help you see the forest and the trees.
What are your go-to methods for preparing for speeches?
[Image Source: Rick]