HOW a speaker manages and hides Speech Anxiety symptoms from the audience is the topic of this 7-part C.O.N.C.E.A.L. series. We are on part two, practicing the speech by being observed before real people.
Good speech are practiced first. Beginners need advice about HOW to best practice a speech. Initial speech preparation time begins by practicing alone, preparing your thoughts and drafting the content. However, practicing alone isn’t enough. I believe you haven’t really practiced until you do so in front of a real audience.
Be observed, gather groups to hear you! I recommend you gather people together and try-out your speech a couple times before the real delivery day. This allows you to not only practice the content, but also delivery elements such as eye contact and movement. Being observed in front of a real-audience will increase your confidence that you can duplicate the performance for-real when the times comes.
Practice daily. I recommend practicing around 1-2x a day, dividing these times into different time slots during a day (i.e., once in the morning and then again at night). If you practice 1-2x a day over a week or two, this is generally enough to imprint the content into your mind and supply content you can recite on speech day. Adding a reminder note system (i.e., see my developing Key Notes) will further enhance your recall.
Don’t over-practice! Have you ever tried to not make a mistake so hard that you end up making it? When you are being watched, do your mistakes increase? Let’s compare this to golfers who can practice all day hitting balls, making the same error over and over. The mistakes might increase if they have an audience. Instead golfers can to spread their practice over days in order to defeat a repeated error.
Like the above golf example, speech rehearsal is similar. If you are dwelling on your speech more than that 1-3x a day, you may be getting yourself more worked up vs. improved. That’s what over-practicing does, as it causes you to dwell on the mistakes and then stumble there. It’s through repeated practice over multiple days that we can reduce errors. I tell college students you “cannot cram speech practice” like you can other subject.
In the next article we will review the N, the third of 7-parts C.O.N.C.E.A.L. series. ABOUT Michelle Brady – she is a speaker-trainer and a 3-decade public speaking college instructor. She offers speech training through www.SageForwardTraining.com. Reach out to book her at your next event