When it comes to public speaking, so much attention is given to the preparation and ensuing delivery of your material that the practice of your speech or presentation is often overlooked. I am amazed at how many people go over their script or their outline in their head and never say their words out loud.

How can you possibly know how your presentation or speech will sound if you do not say your words OUT LOUD? How we write is not how we speak. While a speech is more formal and should be delivered word for word, how those words ‘sound’ when you read them over in your mind, is not how those same words sound when you orally say them. Being familiar with and knowing your material can only occur when you have practiced your material out loud, not once, not twice but many times over the course of a week or two.

Whereas speeches will be read, a presentation should be spoken from notes outlining your material. One of the reasons the presentation is more challenging than the speech is that you are speaking ‘around’ your notes with the former: in doing so, your words will be different every time you present your material. Your audience’s reaction to your delivery, even their reaction to your words, will affect what you are saying. In some cases, you may find it necessary to add or possibly delete some material in the midst of your presentation.

I recently read an article in which the writer stated that when giving a presentation, you should have neither notes nor a script. While I do agree that a script is not a good idea for a presentation (I don’t want you reading your presentation or relying on memorization), I disagree about his suggestion about having no notes. If your presentation includes Power Point or some form of slide show, then indeed you will not need notes. If, on the other hand, you will not be using visual aids, it is imperative that you have your outline in some fashion available. Notes are the crutch you will need should you forget where you are or lose your train of thought.

This is one of two reasons why knowing your material is critical. If you are only vaguely familiar with the outline of your presentation, then trying to remember where you were or how to continue will prove even difficult than if you have practiced your material out loud and really know your main points as well as your sub-points. By having note cards handy, you will be able to quickly find your place with just a glance at your notes.

The other reason for knowing your material ‘inside and out,’ however, is that with a practiced knowledge of what you are saying, you will be able to concentrate more on the delivery of your presentation and less on trying to remember what you should be saying. In doing so, there is more likelihood that you will be able to actually communicate with your audience.

Remember, public speaking is a form of communication. Knowing your material so that you can focus on delivering that material just as if you were having a conversation in your living room can only happen if you have practiced your material in advance.

Author's Bio: 

The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To see how voice training can improve your life, both professionally and personally, Click Here .
Visit The Voice Lady's blog and watch a brief video as she describes Dynamic Public Speaking.

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