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How to give fantastic speeches – one proven trick

We all want to give fantastic speeches but for many of us this seems elusive or a distance dream. The reality is we all have within our own power the ability to give great speeches.

Proven Trick to Fantastic Speeches

I admit the word fantastic is a bit subjective. For me giving a fantastic speech is conveying a strong message and providing the audience value. It doesn’t mean I didn’t trip on some of my words or have tech issues. I’ve been presenting long enough to know that is bound to happen.

What is the proven trick to fantastic speeches? Practice!

Yes, practice. I know - I hear the groans and the voice in your head.

I don’t:

  • have time to practice!
  • want to look like a robot!

I can't

  • memorize my entire speech!
  • get access to the space to practice!

I prefer

  • to think on my feet
  • speak in the moment!

Practice isn’t about memorizing the speech and most experts don’t recommend that strategy. Additionally, the benefit of practice helps you appear more natural and allows you to be nimble in the moment.

Certainly, practicing in the actual space where you will present is an ideal way to ensure you speech is fantastic. However, that is a small aspect of what it means to practice.

If you want to make a good impression, connecting with your audience, and conveying a strong message, then practice should be a core part of your development strategies.

What the Experts Say

In a survey of its members, asking what strategies are most important for speaking, the National Speech Association found that practice was top ranked.

Malcolm Gladwell talks about the importance of practice in his book, The Outliers. If you are familiar with the book then you probably know one of the main themes in the book: mastery takes practice (about 10,000 hours).

Although, according a renown expert this is a slight misinterpretation of the research. K. Anders Ericsson, a Professor of Psychology at Florida State University, is well known for his research in human performance. According to his work, his studies found that deliberate practice or the intent to improve through practice is what leads to mastery.

I am not suggesting you practice this much for any speech. However, when you practice it should be deliberate and intentional to improve. Remember, practicing a speech is not about perfection or memorization. It is about feeling comfortable with the content and structure of the presentation.

Types of Practice for Fantastic Speeches

There are two types of practice you can do to ensure you give a fantastic speech: practice runs and ongoing practice. Each of them have a distinct benefit. If you are serious about presenting and improving then you will want to do both. In this article, the focus is about the first type.

A practice run, also referred to as a dry run, is the type of practice you do in front of a mirror, by video recording yourself, or by talking with colleague or family members. A dry run lets you become familiar with your flow and to work out glitches or kinks.

For many of us, the nervousness that comes right before giving a speech, is not having rehearsed enough. The more you practice the less nervous you will feel.

At first, start by practicing in front of a mirror or recording yourself. This has two benefits. One, it is the most honest feedback you’ll get. Two, it is only you seeing and hearing trips and glitches.

How and When to Practice

Second, try at least once to practice in front of a person or small group of people. By practicing with real people, you get a better idea of how the audience may react. You should plan to do several practice runs; particularly if you are using any type of technology like presentation software or webinar platform.

Finding time is a big challenge many of us face. We all have a variety of priorities that need our attention. Blocking time on your calendar to practice your presentation will ensure you actually do it. Also, look for moments of in between time like when you are taking a shower, commuting to work, or waiting to pick up your child from school.

Another way to practice is ongoing practice and it is all about skills building. Consider taking advantage of webinars, masterclasses, etc. that focus on the different aspects of presenting and public speaking. Groups like Toastmasters International are great places to improve your skills for little cost.

Wrap up

In summary, giving fantastic speeches doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. There are many strategies to use to give great presentations. For this reason, practice as a core strategy is one you should use every time. Resulting in a method that helps you work out the kinks, adjust the flow, and hone your message. Your practice regiment should include dry runs for upcoming speeches and ongoing practice to build your skills.

In the comments below share your thoughts about practicing. How much do you practice? Is there a particular practice technique you use?

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About the author 

Jennifer

Jennifer has 15+ years of public speaking experience - ranging from groups of 5 to 5000. She draws from her experience as an instructor, academic, and librarian to help others with their presentation skills. When not presenting she loves creating and designing online courses, video, images, slide decks, handouts, conference posters, and infographics.

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