“I don’t like to over-rehearse, it’s makes my speech sound impersonal.”
If you’ve ever heard yourself utter these words, it’s time for a reality check. If you want to be a professional speaker, one who gets paid to stand on a stage and deliver an informed and inspired message, then you better except that part of your job is to be well rehearsed.
I read an interview recently in which a well respected TEDx speaker claimed to have rehearsed more than 17 hours for her 8 minute talk. Over kill? Not to her, and not to her audience. That’s what it took to get it to the perfection that she was looking for.
Rehearsal comes in three stages:
- The writing stage: as you prepare your content, rehearse in your mind and out loud. You’re listening for meaning, context and flow.
- The timing stage: timing is not just about the length of your talk in minutes, but also about the timing of your delivery. Rehearsal will help you create the proper pace needed to deliver for impact. Consider pauses for impact, emotion, immersion. Consider pauses for applause and humor.
- The completion stage: when you think you have it right and it’s perfect is the time when you really start rehearsing. This is the point where you go from sounding like you’re over-rehearsed to sounding like a professional.
Tips for effective rehearsal:
- Get in front of a mirror, watch your movement and body language.
- Video record yourself, it might be painful at first to watch, but if you’re not seeing what you like, neither will your audience.
- Get in front of trusted friends and colleagues who will give you honest and concrete feedback. Listen to them.
- Think like a professional. No professional athlete, musician or actor would ever step foot on their stage without practicing and perfecting. Why would you?
Never underestimate the power of rehearsal. You have something important to say, that people need to hear. Give your audience the very best opportunity to receive your message in the way you intend.