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Let's discuss six frequently overlooked rehearsal tips that can enormously improve the emotional power of your final presentation. First, make sure your rehearsal is as close to the real thing as you can get. I want to rehearse an important presentation standing up only to be given a chair at the meeting. Had I known I was going to deliver while sitting down, I would have definitely rehearsed while seated. Find out if you'll be sitting or standing and rehearse in the position you'll be assuming. Second, remember, they don't call it dress rehearsal for nothing.
Don't rehearse in your pajamas unless you intend to give your presentation in your jamies. Instead, rehearse in the actual clothes you'll be wearing, right down to your shoes. You'll be amazed at how much better your performance will be, just by understanding how your body feels in full costume, even if your costume is a formal business suit instead of business casual. Small details make a big difference here. Third, get an audience for your rehearsal. Ideally, rehearse your presentation with people in the room. An audience gives you emotional energy.
If you don't have real people handy, hang pictures of friends, family, or colleagues, and pretend you are talking to them. Looking at faces of people you know and like gives your voice and body language more confidence and emotional power. Fourth, record yourself on video during rehearsal. Watch to find areas where you can improve. Remember this video is for your eyes only. It doesn't need to be professionally shot. A video will truly help you see yourself as others do. Fifth, listen to yourself.
I like putting my audio track on a portable device and then taking a brisk walk. One time I found an area of my presentation that dragged so badly I barely registered a heartbeat. I went back to the office for a rewrite and added more powerful visuals. Listening to audio only helps you spot pace and pitch problems, but listening also helps you later recall the words and inflections that really work well. Sixth, rehearse in real time. If you are giving a one-hour presentation, you need to record a one-hour video of yourself, not five minutes here, twenty minutes there.
Start at the beginning, rehearse till the end. After all, you don't have the opportunity to chop up your presentation in front of a live audience, so don't chop up your rehearsals into little segments either. Further, if your presentation is at 7:00 AM, rehearse at 7:00 AM. If it's at 3:00 PM, rehearse at 3:00 PM. Most people find their morning energy is completely different than afternoon or evening energy. These six tips represent more of the soft skills of rehearsal.
They may seem obvious, but they are often so obvious they are overlooked. By focusing on just some of these soft skills, you can become more confident and your audience will appreciate your attention to details.
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