How to rehearse for a presentation


Man Speaking Into Microphones

Do you practice and rehearse for a presentation?

Knowing your material well is one of the fundamental keys to success.

The more you know your story, the more ready and able you are to adapt and improvise at a moment’s notice. 

Rehearsing and memorizing are two entirely different things

When you rehearse for a presentation w recommend you do memorize your opening .

This will give you the confidence to get off with a flying start.

That said, memorizing your entire presentation will only make you sound stilted.

Don’t do it, just practice instead

When you rehearse for a presentation  you can be fully present in the room  when the time comes to deliver.

Here are a few simple tips on how to rehearse for a presentation

Phone two friends

Everyone has at least one friend whose opinion they trust and value.

They know that whatever happens, they will tell them honestly what they think, with their best interests at heart.

Call that friend and invite them to critique your presentation

Be open to their feedback.

Don’t challenge their assertions or offer explanations and justifications for why you just did what you did.

Thank them graciously for their time. Take their commentary away with you to reflect on.

As you ponder on their thoughts whatever resonates with you from their feedback will become clear and you can work on it.

The second friend may be a little harder to find

If you have one make the same call.

If you’re lucky, this is a friend you regard as a good presenter. You’ve seen them on your feet and liked what you saw.

Invite this friend to critique your presentation.

Ask them to focus specifically on your:


Did you capture their attention, interest and curiosity immediately?


Could they hear you hear clearly throughout?


Is there sufficient variation in your tone?


Are you speaking too fast, too slow or  at just the right pace?


Is it clear that you are very familiar with your content?


Do you use them to good effect?


How passionate do you sound about your message?


Did your presentation take the shape of a story and did it include relevant, interesting and memorable stories?

Eye Contact

What’s it like?

Body Language 

Does your movement and gesture enhance and animate your message?


Is it relevant, interesting and engaging?


Is it logical and easy to follow?

Use of Visual Aids

Were yours necessary, suitable, effective and memorable?

Were they easy to read /understand?

Did they support your message?

Did you use them effectively?  


Was yours as powerful as your opening?


Was it relevant?

What difference will it make to the audience?

Does it connect emotionally as well as intellectually?

The venue and timing

A key part of your preparation and rehearsing before you get to perform is in understanding exactly where you will be delivering your message.

What enviroment will you be speaking in and what resources do you have.

Find out as much as you can in advance about:

The size of the room

Seating arrangements

Temperature control

Lighting Facilities


Audio/ Visuals Technical support

The schedule and timing

If the opportunity is available to you to rehearse at the venue itself before you are due to present formally, this will add enormous value. 

Do you need to modify your presentation in any way to accommodate the constraints of the venue?

Murphy’s Law

When it comes to technology I tend to believe in Murphy ’s Law, which states that:Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.’

I’ve seen it in operation for myself more than once and have learned from it.

Here’s what I do now:

  –  I always familiarize myself as much as I can with the technology I’ll be using at each venue for each presentation

  –  If I’m using an external venue I always ask for a ‘walk through’ of the technology on site.

  –  I go out of my way to make good friends with the A/V support team

  –  Arriving for every presentation at least 1 hour early helps

  –  I test everything, at least twice

  –  I do a complete dry run using the projector, remote and audio

  –  Wherever possible I try to have a back-up plan

  –  I take back up copies of my presentation on a USB and paper

  –  I always take my own projector, laptop leads and sound – just in case!

Whether you are brand new to presenting or have been presenting for many years take the time to rehearse for a presentation.

If you’d like some help as you rehearse for a presention:

– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.

– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.

– Get yourself some excellent presentation training

Image: Courtesy of

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