Practice Makes Perfect


Practice Makes PerfectWhen you are having a meeting, chances are you will be making a presentation.  It may be long or short; it may be in front of a crowd of 10 or 100 people.   Regardless of the details, you want to make your best impression and give the best presentation you can give.  When you hold your meeting, you’ll learn that a little time and effort go a long way.  Practicing your presentation ahead of time will help you appear more confident, professional, and you’ll be able to grab your audience’s attention in ways you never thought possible.   You’ve always heard the saying “practice makes perfect;” well, in the case of presentations it’s absolutely true.  So what are some good ways to practice?   Take a look at the tips below and use as many as you can before your next big meeting. 

1.  Record Yourself.  If you can hear or watch yourself make your presentation, it makes you more aware of what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right.   If you have a tape recorder or some kind of audio recorder, go ahead and hit record when you make your speech.  Play it back and listen to yourself.  Are you speaking clearly?  Do you have any annoying habits such as saying “um” and “uh” between sentences?   Are there any words you have problems with? 

This works for videotaping yourself as well.  Set up your video camera or if you don’t already have one, consider renting a video camera.  Record your entire presentation and play it back to see where you can make improvements.  Are your gestures distracting?   Do you make eye contact with the camera/your audience members?  Do you look nervous?  

2.  Have someone else watch.  Whether it’s your friends, family, or a few close co-workers, have people whose opinions you trust watch you give your presentation and ask them to give honest criticism.  Ask them to tell you what they liked and didn’t like, what you need to change and what you can improve.  

3.  Use a mirror.  In a quick pinch using a mirror can be as rewarding as a video camera.  You have the same ability to watch yourself perform and you can watch to see what you’re doing wrong.  If you are making distracting gestures, you can stop and do it over again until you find a place where you’re comfortable. 

4.  Get familiar with props and technology.   If you plan to use any kind of visual aids, props, or technology with your presentation, you’ll want to make sure you do at least one run-through with them at your side.  Make sure you’re comfortable moving things around if you have props or paper visual aids.  If you plan to use a projector rental or any other technology you’re not familiar with, make sure you have the rental firm set it up ahead of time and make sure you get there early to learn how to use it well enough, so that you’re not having to stop your presentation to figure out how to change slides or power on and off.

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