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Avoiding Presentation Chaos
by Andrew E. Schwartz

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Imagine attending an unrehearsed Broadway show. Anything short of mass confusion is pure luck. Lighting is out of focus, cues are missed, lines are forgotten. As a member of the audience, you leave feeling annoyed and angry about the time and money you’ve wasted. As a presentor, you wouldn’t want your audience to feel the same way. Rehearsing is an essential part of any presentation and a major key to smoothness of delivery.

Rehearsing, however, will not promote this smoothness unless you understand the right ways to rehearse. Developing a workable system for doing so will eliminate most bugs and faux pas in the actual delivery.

What is Rehearsal? A good rehearsal, is a procedure of practicing in private what will be done in public. More than anything else, it is a verbalization of directed thinking. Yours should never consist of mechanical memorizing and repetition. The rehearsal should be extemporaneous. The only thing which should be memorized is the thought pattern of the presentation. This does not signify that you speak "off the cuff." It means that rather than memorizing word for word, you utilize key words written in an outline so that you can relive the experience of thinking about your topic with the audience. Each time you rehearse with these key words, the presentation will evolve. Some things may be said almost identically, but will still be expressed in language which is spontaneous and fresh to the moment. This is the most personal and real form of communicating.

“Divide and Conquer” This method of rehearsing will help to build your presentation. Many of its elements can be practiced almost anywhere, at any leisure moment. The net result will be a pre-thought presentation.

First make preliminary note cards for various portions or sub-divisions. Carry them in your pocket or purse and mentally rehearse them whenever possible—while traveling, on a break, etc. In your spare time, go over your objective thesis.

Andrew E. Schwartz, CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates of Boston, MA a comprehensive management training and professional development organization offering over 40 skills specific programs and practical solutions to today's business challenges.

Copyright, AE Schwartz & Associates. All rights reserved.
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