Do you enjoy rehearsing your presentations? Or would you rather avoid it? I love rehearsing; it helps my flow and delivery, and to keep the whole thing feeling natural and conversational. Even using a rigid structure can actually allow you to be adaptable.
Be Shapeless, Formless, Like Water
In traditional martial arts, individual moves are repeated thousands of times (in what are called ‘forms’). These allow the individual to develop a connection to the moves so that they can be called upon instinctively, without pausing for thought. When presenting, you can use the same principle by not having a rigid sequence, but instead using a modular structure; a palette of material. If any sections don’t feel necessary during the presentation, they’re ready as prepared answers for relevant questions, allowing you to look rather sharp and quick-witted in the Q+A. Which is always nice.
Keep It Conversational
At a finer level, keep in mind that learning word for word can easily kill the relaxed air of spontaneity required for your audience to feel that they’re getting something unique, rather than the same old presentation you’ve trotted out before. So, when rehearsing (and delivering your talk on successive occasions), it’s vital that you try altering emphasis, speed, volume, seriousness, and also throwing in deliberate pauses. Crucially, try altering the order of the sections; keep it fresh and slightly different each time so that you’re as engaged in the material as you want your audience to be. Which is very engaged, right?
Practise, practise, but at the same time try to be natural.