Note: This content was written prior to BrainStory, the brand that followed Slide Lab.
Practice makes perfect. That’s why we recommend you rehearse your presentation whenever possible. However, there is no clear rule on how we should do this, nor how much time we should spend rehearsing a presentation, since different speakers need different things.
But there are important tips you should take into account when rehearsing your presentation to ensure everything goes as expected:
1. Read your presentation out loud. Try creating links between topics so that everything makes sense, both for you and your final speech.
2. Now that you have managed to create a story, you will see that your speech will be much more natural and that you won't need to cling to your paper. Tell the story several times out loud. Don't worry about the speech being slightly different from what you had initially written. Don’t worry about that; worry about conveying key ideas.
3. Make sure the slides are consistent with your speech and avoid repeated information. It’s important your slides support your performance. Slides should help you tell a story with clear, objective messages; they should not be a copy of your speech.
4. Rehearse the projection of your voice depending on the type of room you're going to be using and worry about details such as whether a microphone is available.
5. One of the most important tips: ACT NATURAL. If you are an extrovert by nature, you can use this to your advantage and create a more relaxed environment, but if you are shy, you should own it naturally and not make jokes that may make you feel even more uncomfortable.
6. Your posture is a business card for your speech. You will inevitably be the centre of attention when presenting, and will thus have to “embody” that character until the end.
– Wear an outfit that makes you feel good but that is appropriate to the environment.
– Try avoiding accessories that might be distracting (e.g. noisy ladies' bracelets or a click ballpoint pen).
– Look your audience in the eye. A downcast and withdrawn speaker does not convey confidence and motivation to listen to a presentation. Even if you are having a “bad” day or feel like things are not going your way, try to always keep a firm stance in the eyes of those who see you.
7. The last essential tip: if for some reason you got distracted and forgot your speech, try not to panic and don’t convey said panic to your audience. Look at the slide, talk about the key ideas it conveys (that's what slides are for), and move on to the next slide. You'll see that you’ll quickly remember your speech. Don't worry about not exploring that particular topic as thoroughly as you should. It's better than being completely stuck trying to remember the speech.
Rehearse as much as you can! Rehearse your presentation and you’ll see you’ll memorise the story.