“If you could give me only one sentence on how to be a great speaker, what would it be?”

That was the question I received once from a magazine writer who was doing a story about how to be a better speaker.

“I don’t need an entire sentence,” I said. “I only need one word. ‘Rehearse’.”

Rehearsal by itself can make you a substantially better speaker. Rehearse your presentation and practice answering questions.

Do it out loud! Like it’s a play!

Presenting is a spoken art. You can’t practice by flipping through slides and saying, “I know what I’m going to say here. I know what I’m going to say here. I know what…”

To be good, you need to rehearse out loud. We don’t want you to write out your speech word for word and we don’t want you to memorize it. Just make a few notes and begin vocalizing your message.

Rehearsal Helps You Figure Out How to Say It Smoothly

Rehearsing out loud gives you a feel for what sounds right. You can’t do that by just flipping through your slides.

Let’s say that you’re going to talk about how your plan resembles another project you did last year. How are you going to articulate that thought?

The first time you try to say it, you might start out like this:

“Last year we built a hospital with fifteen floors and a cardiac wing in Denver, Colorado. They were very worried about patient safety because the last time they had work done, one of their patients tripped over a stray piece of a drywall.”

Does that sound the way you want? Maybe.

However, it might sound better if you said it like this:

“We understand that you’re concerned about safety. We heard about how on a previous project one of your nurses slipped on some paint and sprained her wrist. We actually had another client just like you in Denver. On a previous job, a patient had tripped over some drywall.”

I’m not suggesting that one way is right and one is wrong. All I’m saying is that you need to figure out the best way to say it and how to get the words to come out of your mouth. You can’t do that without rehearsal.

By practicing, you can find all the dead ends where you don’t want to go. You can hear how it sounds and say, “That doesn’t sound right. I better try that again.”

You need to rehearse over and over again so that when you get up there to deliver your presentation, you sound smooth and confident.

Joey Asher

Joey AsherJoey Asher has worked with thousands of business people helping them learn how to communicate in a way that connects with clients. His new book 15 Minutes Including Q&A: a Plan to Save the World from Lousy Presentations” is available now. He is also the author three previous books including “How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals That Will Distinguish You from the Competition”, “Selling and Communication Skills for Lawyers” and “Even A Geek Can Speak.”