How to Rehearse for Your Talk

How to rehearse to ensure your presentation is a success.
Rehearse to ensure your presentation is a success.

You’ve edited and fine-tuned a written version of your talk. Now you’re going to rehearse it. You might think practicing your delivery is too much trouble. Or, maybe you feel like you don’t have time to rehearse? Rehearsal is essential to the success of your presentation. (Don’t think you can skip it.) You’ll be glad you did.

How to Rehearse

1. Record yourself reading your talk out loud to check on timing and emphasis.

2. Prepare outline notes. Even though you’ve dedicated significant amounts of time and energy to creating a written version of your presentation, you’re NOT going to read it! Nothing will put an audience to sleep faster. Instead, you’re going to speak directly and spontaneously to the audience, maintaining essential eye contact.

The secret is to prepare easy-to-read notes. Write or print your key points on a pad or card that you’ll keep on the lectern or table. Use a bold felt-tip pen or a large typeface.

As you speak, you’ll follow your “road map” with quick glances. An easy-to-read wristwatch or small clock on the lectern lets you keep track of the time so you can speed up or slow down, cut or add material, so you finish on time. (Don’t forget to first silence your phone if you plan to use it as your clock while you are speaking.)

3. Record a practice delivery of your talk. Recheck your timing. As you play this recording back, pay attention to repetitive phrases and non-words like “er” and “ah.” Rehearse again, minus these distracting irritants, until you are speaking smoothly and confidently.

4. Rehearse in front of an audience. Ask one or two perceptive people for their feedback. Make it clear that you want constructive criticism, not just praise. Did they understand the points you were making? Was there a lack of logic or continuity? Did they think you spoke too quickly or slowly? Use their feedback to put a final polish on your talk.

Also, in advance of your talk…

It’s a good idea to write your own introduction, and bring a printed copy! You want the emcee to pronounce your name correctly, mention your company’s name, and tell people how to get in touch with you. A smooth introduction sets the stage for a successful presentation.

Fripp Virtual TrainingBecome a great presenter quickly, easily, and cost-effectively on your own schedule. I’m here for you 24/7 through Fripp Virtual Training.

“I wanted a super bowl-quality coach, and I was lucky to be introduced to Patricia Fripp. Her help in coaching and scripting was world class. With Patricia Fripp on your team, you can go places.”
– Don Yaeger, Long-Time Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated magazine, Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, New York Times Best-Selling Author

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Why & How to Rehearse for Your Presentation

Just a few of the many complimentary resources on to help you rehearse and deliver your presentation:

Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp works with individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.