No matter how many times you have given the same basic talk, always practice before giving it the next time. I have given a similar marketing speech many, many times. Occasionally, I have not practiced beforehand and I fell flat. I was uncomfortable, and at times, tongue-tied.
So, I never give a talk without adding something new, and practicing my speech out loud for a couple of reasons. One, to see how long it will really take; and secondly, to hear how I sound.
Marsha Hunter had a recent post on Attorney at Work on “Perfecting Your Presentation Skills” that addressed the topic of practicing before speaking. She suggests three simple steps:
- Shut your door and set a timer for 10 minutes. (I prefer to give my entire talk with slides as if I was actually presenting, even if it takes me an hour or more.);
- Stand up and speak for the 10 minutes;
- Ask yourself how you did. (The exercise helps me identify areas that are weak, as well as the strong points in my presentation.) Repeat the process for “as long as you can.”
Some may prefer Hunter’s approach over mine, and that is fine. At least you’re not winging it. I agree with Hunter’s statement “Being prepared, super-prepared and even over-prepared is a good thing.” Professional speakers practice and are prepared, others wing it.