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How to Practice Your Presentation

The following represents some ideas about how to practice that will help you give a more relaxed, confident and enthusiastic presentation.

  • How you see Yourself

    Make sure your notes are “key words” only, printed in large letters on index cards.  They will provide you with recall cues without having you “read” to your audience.

  • Mentally run through the presentation to review each idea in sequence.

  • Repeat the above procedure until you become familiar with the flow of ideas and where you plan to use visual aids to support them.

  • Begin stand-up rehearsals of your presentation. Try to arrange a practice room similar to the one in which you will actually give your presentation.

  • Practice in front of a mirror. Watch your hands, mouth, eyes, posture, etc.

  • Give a simulated presentation, idea-for-idea (not word-for-word), using all visual aids.  Use minimum focus on the notes, maximum focus on the audience.

  • Practice answers to questions you anticipate from the audience.

  • Give the full presentation.  If possible, videotape yourself or have a friend give some feedback.

  • Review the videotape in three ways.  Firstly, watch the recording as normal. Next, listen only to the sound (without watching the picture) to hear your voice, your inflections and your enthusiasm.  Finally, watch the picture without sound to see your body language and your gestures.

  • Make any changes based on feedback and review.

  • Give one or two dress rehearsals with the presentation in its final form.

  • Sometimes you might like to practice with distractions (loud radio, poor lighting, glaring spotlight) and learn to keep on track despite the problems.


Adapted from Effective Presentation Skills - Mandel




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