It’s the stage everyone avoids, but it’s vital for success.

One of the biggest mistakes I see when people give a pitch or presentation, is they don’t rehearse properly. Here’s how you rehearse properly: you start rehearsing immediately.

As soon as you find out that you’ve got to give a talk, start saying the words out loud. All too often, people avoid rehearsing completely or they leave it to the last minute, and as a result, what they say is something that was written. It wasn’t honed after they’d delivered it a few times, and so it doesn’t come out the right way because this was written to be read, rather than to be spoken. Say the words out loud, it will inform your writing.

It may even give you a fresh insight into your particular subject, because the way that the human brain processes spoken words, is different to ones that have been read.

Say the words out loud and you will start to imbed the material. You won’t have to worry about remembering the thing, because you’ll be so used to saying it. Now, there comes a caveat with this, Which is that you should re-word the piece each time, very slightly, to keep it fresh and interesting for you. Otherwise, it will come out rote, verbatim and your delivery will be a little bit wooden.

The other great benefit is you can get used to the timing of the thing and realize the actual duration. So you might have written something and you think, ‘Oh yeah, that’s 10, 15 minutes.’ It’s actually… 34. Much better to find out the actual duration and edit the thing – so that it comes in at the correct running time – than overrun by a huge amount and annoy your audience.

So, as soon as you know you’ve got to give a talk, start rehearsing!

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