Be Prepared! 5 tips for getting the most out of practice
We’re not talking about boy scouts here. However, the difference between an OK speech and a great speech is the amount of time spent preparing. ‘But I haven’t any time,’ I hear you cry. ‘I’ve a high-powered job. I’ve family commitments. I travel a lot ….’
Of course some things must take priority. Telling your boss that you have to prepare a speech instead of writing a vital report simply won’t wash. Nor should it. You can’t not take the kids to school or to football practice nor can you miss their school play.
However, you’ve invested in Early Birds because you want to be a better speaker. You wouldn’t regularly turn up at 7 a.m. if it didn’t matter. So you owe it to yourself to give it your best shot.
Here are some ideas that might help.
Don’t rush it. This may not be the right time for you. Tailor the frequency of your speeches with where you are in your life and work. If you can only find time to prepare four speeches in a year, then make those the best possible speeches you can give.
If you find choosing the topic difficult, give yourself a deadline. When you reach it, if you are still dithering, just choose something and stick to it.
Give yourself enough time to write or compose it; it can be easier to set aside an hour here or there than trying to do it all at once. When that’s done, look at the videos of your last speeches and, even more important, the evaluations.
Record your speech – all smart phones have a recording function. Incidentally, this will also help you to keep to the allotted time. Then prioritise. If you don’t set the time aside to practice, it won’t happen. And here we go again – we’re up against the familiar problem – no time. But you can find it. Think of all the times when you may be alone.
Listen to your speech when putting on your make up or shaving, for instance. I’m not being gender specific here! If you drive to work, listen to it while driving, though please don’t use earphones. If you run, walk or jog, that’s the time to stick your earphones in your ears and listen to your speech instead of your music. Do the same in the bus or tube.
The more you hear it, the more familiar your speech will become. Of course practicing speaking it out loud in front of a mirror is a great thing to do. But not I beg you in the tube or bus, or you’ll get some very strange looks. Or worse.