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Techniques for presentation practice

Did you know that most people don’t know how to practice their presentations effectively?

This means they either over-prepare or often under prepare. So here are some presentation practice tips. Once you have prepared your presentation, good practice is key. There are ways to get a lot done in a short timeframe too, so no excuses! The more you practise, the more comfortable you will feel – particularly if you can enlist a friend or colleague to watch and give you constructive feedback.
Once you have landed on your presentation content following the 4MAT system outlined in my book and presentation skills training sessions. (See more in the blog post ‘How to avoid reading your presentation’).

The next stage is to create index cards. Dee recommends using key words with a visual to accompany each key word. Once you have practised your presentation using the cards, try it without, and refer to them only when needed. You’ll be amazed by how much you remember. The benefit of using this approach is that it allows your personality to come into play. Your talk will be conversational and friendly in style, yet structured and professional too.
Getting your timing right is an important part of your practice. Make sure you time your talk as you deliver it to a ‘real’ audience, rather than the mirror. Ask them if the speed was ok, as we all have a tendency to speed up! Then get used to keeping an eye on the clock.
Whether you have to learn something word for word (I really don’t encourage this unless there is a very good reason) or just want to get familiar with your presentation, it’s a good idea to think about what kind of learner you are. If you learn best by hearing things or talking out loud, for example, try this exercise:

  • Use a voice recorder to record your full presentation
  • Listen to it several times – in the car, while walking, or even as you’re going to sleep
  • Once you know it fairly well, talk through it at the same time
  • Pause it if you get stuck – the word will either come to you or you can play it back
  • Practise only the parts that you don’t remember as easily as the rest – don’t keep running through the entire presentation

If you’re a visual learner, and have got rid of all your Monkeys, you could try the same exercise but substitute the recording for a video of your presentation that you watch back. Check your posture and see where you need to add more emotion or additional interest points.
The best way to approach a talk or presentation is to take full responsibility for everything and do as much as possible to ensure it goes well, then on the day adapt as you need to suit the audience.

Simply Amazing Training offers professional presentation skills training courses for companies and individuals. Have a look at our Guide to our most popular training courses and presentation skills workshops or call me today for a chat to discuss; we recognise that all of our clients are different and have different needs when it comes to their in house company training courses.

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