The Importance of Rehearsal
Pro Speech features
With your Pro Speech, you have been provided with personalised notes on when to use gestures and pausing and vary the pitch, speed and volume of your voice in specific points within your speech. Practising these will help you to speak with great impact, so make sure to use your "notes" speech copy during rehearsal.
OK! You have prepared the speech, but are you ready to say it out loud?
It cannot be stressed strongly enough - every speech needs to be practiced often before it is delivered. Instead of panicking about delivering your speech, change your perspective and think of the speech as a conversational
topic that you talk about with a bunch of friends or colleagues. And remember - the audience is keen to hear what you have to say. You can improve the delivery of your speech not by worrying about the future, but by arming yourself in preparation for the future. The way to achieving that is through rehearsal.
Here are four points to keep in mind as you rehearse.
Right Way To Practice
Look for a safe space where nobody will disturb you as you practice. Rehearse again and again until you are confident and until you are happy with the sound and the content of your speech.
During rehearsal, you’ll discover parts of speech that needs improvement, additions or removal. If you trip up on a word or sentence when you practice it, or a word or sentence sounds a bit strange or lacklustre, it is probably means you should rewrite this section. Make the necessary changes so that are happy with how it sounds and confident you can deliver it well. Just make sure that that your edits are consistent with the style of your speech and the message you are sending with your speech.
A speech isn’t only about saying the right words. It also includes maximising the audience's engagement in your speech by using a variety of vocal techniques. Practising will help you to understand how you sound as you speak aloud your speech.
To enhance engagement, great speakers use a conversational tone and avoid a monotonous tone generally throughout the entire speech. Also, the use a variety of pitch (deep voice or high-pitch), volume, pausing and speed will get the right impact at the right in your speech (see the Vocal Variety Resource page). Use an aid like a video or audio recorder on your phone to listen to your speech. Listening to the recording is like being a member of the audience, and will help you to better understand the sound of your speech by taking the audience's perspective. Know where you need to use different vocal variety techniques and edit your speech and delivery to get the impact you are looking for.
Body Language Matters
Expressing our emotions and feelings through body language comes naturally to us all, but often not so when giving a speech. Just as the words used in a speech are not spoken through natural conversation and can appear awkward if not rehearsed, so can our body language. Using what appears to be natural and spontaneous movements comes with practice.
Practising the gestures and movements in your speech will help you to perform them more naturally. Look in the mirror or record yourself on video as you practice your speech and see what gestures and movements you are using. If comfortable, ask someone to watch your rehearsal and ask for their comments. Fit the gestures to the words accordingly and keep in mind that you don’t need an action for every word.
See the Body Language Resource page for additional information.
Memorising the Speech
Great speakers speak to the audience, not to their notes. Think about it from the audience's perspective. What looks better - a speaker that looks down reading-out-loud their notes, or looking up and talking at you? The key with notes is to use them as a reminder - looking down at them to check what is next, and then to look back up and speak.
Memorising as much of your speech as possible will help to create a conversational tone and engage your audience more effectively than if reading your notes out loud. If you have a very long speech or have limited time to rehearse, memorising the opening and closing statements will leave a good impression. When you remember the opening section, you may create a "halo effect" on the audience - their first impression of you is someone who knows their speech and can deliver it well, and this impression remains with the audience through the remainder of your speech. And, if you are nervous and know your opening, your confidence will build as you move ahead. Similarly, memorised closing statements will leave the same halo effect on your audience once your speech has ended.
See the Delivery Resource page for additional information.
To Sum Up
To reiterate - rehearsing your speech is incredibly important if you want to deliver it well. It is kind of like competition - practising for hours and hours just to be ready for an event that lasts only a few minutes. But without the practice, you will not be ready for the competition. The more important the speech, the more important practising is. Keep this, and what you have read above in mind, and you will feel amazed when your audience members pull you aside to tell you how much they enjoyed your speech.