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Break A Leg

Next time you watch a basketball game, watch the players warm up before the game actually starts. Even the very best players run through their moves and shots before the game begins. They’re rehearsing, practicing their skills before the presentation.

Presentors are no different — they must warm up their skills and rehearse before their presentations get off the ground. Preparation of your speech begins with the concept — the thought or idea you wish to impart to others. After the initial conception, you develop your idea through support, proof, and reinforcement. Once you come up with a clear overall plan for the presentation, it’s time to consider rehearsal.

Essentially, rehearsal is the act of thinking aloud to yourself. Just as you developed the original concept by clarifying ideas and thoughts, so should you rehearse by thinking and then going over your thoughts again and again until the presentation has solidified in your mind. Rehearsal does not mean rote memorization — let thought guide you at each step.

First, develop a sturdy rehearsal by memorizing the actual conceptual pattern of the presentation. This will leave you free to improvise or collect certain points without resorting to the text or plan every few minutes.

This approach to rehearsal is called “pre-thinking the presentation.” By thinking and immersing your presentation, you will uncover cues to help you remember thought you’ve had and now wish to share. This is the key to developing skills for impromptu deliveries, which is the best method for attaining maximum contact and interaction with an audience. Spontaneous presentations flow naturally and save your audience from boredom of being read at.

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