Avoid “if all else fails”. Rehearse!

They say, “if all else fails, read instructions.” In essence, get a preview of what to expect when you attempt something, especially after you don’t get what you expected.

When it comes to speaking in public, doing so without first rehearsing is inviting “all else” to “fail”. Do you really want that “when all else fails” moment to happen? No. It’s bad enough to try to figure things out on our own, let alone in front of others. Avoid this. Before speaking in public, rehearse!

What to rehearse is tied to what would most commonly prove faulty:

1. Your flow

Just because we know what to say doesn’t mean we have organized the content in reasonable, logical ways. When we rehearse on our feet, aloud, we discover whether our content flows. Or rather, where it doesn’t.

It flows when our content easily comes to mind. We have decided a structure, announced it and used only that content that supports it. It flows when we remember our points. This is not only good for our ability to deliver our message. It also helps our audience stay on track and easily recall what’s important from our message.

Here’s the rub: it’s difficult to put everything together on paper and anticipate perfect flow. Rehearsing shows us where our message doesn’t flow and gives us the chance to correct it.

2. Your language

Our written words usually are much more cumbersome and pedantic than our spoken words. Give yourself and your listeners a break – keep it simple.

Your rehearsal will help you test the language flow as well as the message flow. If you cannot remember the beautiful language you wrote – don’t worry. It gets in the way of clarity for your listener, anyway.

Use simple, non-jargon language. Otherwise you need to take the time to explain what you mean, anyway.

3. Your dynamics

More important than what we say is how we feel about what we say.

Orchestras and symphonies not only need conductors to help them rehearse notes. They need conductors to help them rehearse timing, pauses, and tone. This “expression” creates dynamics in the music that, without it, could become monotonous and boring. But with this expression it allows listeners the chance to feel what musicians feel.

The same is the case with oratory. Once we know our “notes” we are only half-way ready to present. Next we rehearse timing, body language, our expressions and important pauses. It’s with these technical elements that we get out of our habits of always speaking slow or with a certain tone or physical mannerism.

Rehearsing helps us find out what part of our message we enjoy – what’s happening with our voice or body? It helps us point out what parts are important to remember – here we pause, add emphasis or adjust our pace. It helps us sound convicted, motivational, credible or conversational.

After our speech has ended it’s too late to make adjustments (If all else fails,…). Rehearse before you get in front of your audience.

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2 Responses to Avoid “if all else fails”. Rehearse!
  1. […] different. Written language can be long sentences with multi-syllable words difficult to pronounce. When we try to speak them aloud without reading them, our flow is inconsistent. Spoken language is best when we speak in short sentences and simple […]

  2. […] Rehearse your revised message. What you deliver to your listeners is based on what your body has experienced before. So unless you stand up and rehearse aloud the carefully modified message, you will give the wrong talk. Rehearse for your flow, for an audience connection and for continuity. […]

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