There is a simple, time efficient practise that will massively help you sound more professional, get your ideas across more efficiently, give better presentations or be more confident in that media interview: and yet most people simply will not do it.
What is it? Rehearse aloud.
I recently came across the golden nugget “Practise Analytically, Perform Intuitively” in an essay by David Perell on golf and writing.
In golf this can be explained simply. Practise analytically can mean videoing your swing, being critical, study what you are actually doing when you strike the ball. Perform intuitively: means once you are actually playing, just do it.
“Practise Analytically, Perform Intuitively” can be applied to many things, including communication skills. Spend time planning, analysing, tweaking, editing and above all rehearsing before you actually do something. Then when you get to the moment of delivery, you just do it. Clear your mind and let it flow.
Rehearse during not after the preparation
Rehearsal, in my view, is part of the work you do before your creative process has finished. My advice: rehearse aloud, before you are ready. I read somewhere, rehearse aloud once you have done about 40% of the work on your speech, your presentation or your message prep.
Speaking aloud during the writing will make the whole thing better, as well as prime you for your eventual performance.
And to supercharge your productivity and effectiveness, record your rehearsal (audio or video) and listen or watch it back.
Why do most people not do this? I think it is because it takes self-discipline and because you have to confront the problem that initially you are not that good! And that is painful. But there is likely to be some really interesting psychology going on behind the extremely widespread reluctance to rehearse. As a communications coach, I come across it every day.
[I would love to hear from anyone who has research or science behind the reluctance to rehearse aloud. I am looking for ways to help my clients overcome this hurdle faster and with less discomfort. There is also an army of PR people who would love to know how to manage the dozens of justifications and excuses that spokespeople use to avoid rehearsing.]
In summary, why you should rehearse aloud:
- You will develop ‘tongue memory’, reducing the stress of performance and the likelihood of blanking.
- You will improve your final performance 5-10% every time you actually rehearse aloud.
- Recording and listening back may initially be painful but it is super useful: you won’t realise how fast you speak, how flat your delivery is or how boring your content is until you listen back.
- If you are reading a script, rehearsal will help you ensure you are using ‘standard intonation’ i.e. putting all the stresses on the right words. You would be amazed how many people stress the wrong words during a performance and have no idea.
- Preparation and rehearsal will allow you to find your flow. You may even enjoy it.
In summary, when you should rehearse aloud:
- For your presentations. Chunk it, do a section at a time. Refine as you go.
- Do a full run-through, record it and time it. Listen back, make a few notes.
- For your media interviews. Rehearse your argument or your messages aloud.
- Chunk it: rehearse one message at a time. Practise moving from questions to relevant messages.
- For your job interviews. Practise articulating and evidencing what you are selling.
- Ask yourself, do you sound competent? Do you sound boastful? Do you sound like a leader (if the job requires this), do you sound like someone nice to work with?
- For any Town Halls. Chunk it. Record it. Time it.
- Ask yourself what the audience will think, feel and do as a result of your address.
- For any Speeches. Rehearse aloud in full performance mode.
- Time it. Listen back. Ask is it clear? Is the tone right? Is it entertaining?
If you can’t find the self-discipline and the diary space to prepare and rehearse aloud, you should know that it is one of the services we provide either online or face to face. Choose either Presentation Training, Media Training or Personal Impact Training.