Hello, I’m Cliff Kennedy. Today, we’re exploring the art of rehearsal and its pivotal role in the success of your presentations. As an experienced coach working with organizations like AbbVie, Amazon, Gartner, Microsoft, and TEDxPaloAlto, I’ve seen the remarkable transformation that focused rehearsal brings to the success of speeches, presentations, and conversations.
Watch the full 45-minute walkthrough below that talks through my coaching approach to prepare all levels of speakers for their next high-stakes communication opportunity, or read the summary below.
Shift your perspective
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” These timeless words of U.S. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin are especially relevant to public speaking. Presenting isn’t just about putting together great content; it’s about practicing it well too. Half the work is in creating the content, and the other half is in the rehearsal.
I tell my clients my long-term plan is to shift their perspective on what presentations are about. It’s not a monologue; it’s an engaging conversation with your audience. When you rehearse, you aren’t doing it just for yourself, you’re doing it for your audience too.
Begin your rehearsals out of order
One unique technique that has worked wonders with my clients is rehearsing presentations in reverse. Start with your last slide and gradually work your way back to the beginning. This unconventional approach helps you better internalize the key messages and structure. Whether you present with slides or not, your presentation has natural breaks and transitions that can be rehearsed frontwards or backwards. Doing so ensures you feel confident and in control at every stage of your presentation, a feeling that your audience can sense and appreciate.
Interested in more? Download my worksheet with six more strategies and exercises to prepare you for your big moment.
Be natural and present
Your physical presence on the stage also contributes significantly to the effectiveness of your presentation. People are comfortable when you are comfortable and it’s important to display confidence even through mistakes or flubs. The right gestures and movements can also amplify and accentuate your message. To do so, maintain a balanced stance, minimize shifting weight or pacing, and be aware of your hand movements. My simple rules are: no pockets, no obscene gestures, and keep it natural.
Embrace the mistakes – be human
Your physical presence on the stage also contributes significantly to the effectiveness of your presentation. People are comfortable when you are comfortable, and it’s important to display confidence even through mistakes or missteps. The right gestures and movements can amplify and accentuate your message. When presenting, maintain a balanced stance, minimize shifting your weight or pacing, and be aware of your hand movements. My simple rules are no pockets, above the waist, and keep it natural.
Use a process: Rehearse, refine, repeat
All successful presentations follow a cycle where you prepare, get the right mindset, rehearse, familiarize yourself with the content, understand the structure, refine it, and then repeat. Developing this or any process is integral to transforming a presentation from ordinary to extraordinary.
I invite you to embrace this approach, rehearse with purpose, and together, let’s create a culture of communication success.
Are you ready to take your communication skills to the next level? Let’s schedule a call to discuss your needs and begin improving the results you achieve from every speech, presentation, and conversation.