It was once said of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, that he was the best showman in American business. The comment came from author Alan Deutschman, who wrote a book about Jobs.*
Deutschman said of Jobs: “He worked hard at his art, preparing maniacally for weeks before an appearance. He got ready for a keynote much the way Oscar Wilde prepared for a dinner party. He spent countless hours rehearsing the succinct lines he would throw off as if they were improvisations.”
Anyone who wants to be a successful speaker or presenter should learn from Steve Jobs’ example. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. The more you rehearse, the better you’ll be.
Rehearse out loud. Rehearse in front of colleagues, family, friends or the bathroom mirror. Video yourself. Rehearsing makes you confident and comfortable.
Rehearse, but don’t memorize. Understand what you’re talking about. If you happen to change a word or the order of your thoughts when you’re delivering, just go with it. As long as you’re not leaving out some crucial information, you can make small changes in the heat of the moment. You want to leave room for that kind of spontaneity.
Always rehearse out loud. Really loud. Don’t just think about your presentation, or whisper it, or mumble it. Rehearse as if the audience is there listening to you. The more you hear yourself, the more comfortable you’ll be when you actually deliver the presentation.
If you can’t rehearse – but you’ve used the TalkitOut Technique – you will still sound much better than if you had prepared by writing everything in silence, then tried to read it out loud.
If you don’t have time to rehearse your whole presentation, make sure you know the hook. And rehearse any section(s) of your presentation that may be particularly challenging.
Halina St James takes the worry out of presentations with her Present Like a Pro video training course. It’s available now from the Podium Coaching online store, together with her popular TalkitOut: From Fears to Cheers e-book and workbook.