One of the keys to successful and confident performance of your business presentation is practice . . . and avoiding presentation practice errors.
The right kind of practice.
This is even more the case with a team presentation with more moving parts and variables in the mix.
The good effects of the right kind of diligent rehearsal is twofold:
1) your material is delivered in a logical, cogent fashion without stumble . . . and,
2) the practice imbues you and your team with confidence so that stage fright is reduced to a minimum and your team’s credibility is enhanced.
Practice strips away the symptoms of stage fright as you concentrate on your message and its delivery rather than extraneous audience reaction to your appearance.
But you reap the benefits of practice if your practice makes sense. This means that you practice the way you perform and avoid the two biggest rehearsal mistakes.
Presentation Practice Error #1
First, do not start your presentation repeatedly, as almost all of us have done at points in our presentation careers.
There is something in our psyche that seems to urge us to “start over” when we make a mistake. When we stumble, we want a “do-over” so that we can put together a perfect rehearsal from start to finish.
But when we do this, what we are actually practicing is the “starting over.” We become very good at “starting over” when we make a mistake.
But is that what we plan to do when we err in our actual presentation? Start over?
No, of course not. We don’t get to start over after evey blunder. But that is exactly what you have practiced.
If you’ve practiced that way, what will you do when you stumble? You won’t know what to do or how to handle the situation, since you have never practiced fighting through an error and continuing on.
You’ve practiced only one thing – starting over.
Instead of starting over when you err, practice the gliding over of “errors,” never calling attention to them. Practice recovering from your error and minimizing it. Perform according to the principle that regardless of what happens, you planned it.
Presentation Practice Error #2
The second big mistake is practicing in front of a mirror.
Don’t practice in front of a mirror unless you plan to deliver your talk to a mirror. It’s plain creepy to watch yourself in the mirror while talking for an extended period of time. There is nothing to be gained by rehearsing one way . . . only to do something entirely different for the actual event.
Of course, you will observe yourself in the mirror as you adjust your stance and appearance to ensure that what you feel is what people see while you present on all occasions. But you do not practice your finished talk in front of a mirror.
Why would you want to grow accustomed to looking at yourself present, only to be faced with an entirely different situation for the actual presentation?
That’s just bizarre. Instead, practice in front of your roommate . . . or go to the classroom or auditorium where you’re scheduled to present.
In short, create as much of the real situation as possible ahead of time.
To ensure an especially powerful presentation every time, practice hard and repeatedly . . . but practice the right way.
For more on avoiding business presentation practice errors, consult The Complete Guide to Business School Presenting.