Practise commando for significant improvements in your presentation. Clearly I don’t mean naked, altho The Sensei, Garr Reynolds has a published whole book on the matter of presenters being open with the audience. Practise with nothing at all save a slide changer. That means no script, no clock, no stopping, just you and your message. This will show what you actually remember, help you to speak rather than recite your message and ultimately show you that whatever happens you can get through. It is also the perfect practise for complete IT failure. Practise commando at least twice before your big presentation.
Practise is a compulsory part of a great presentation. Unfortunately it is the most likely to be impinged upon by time constraints despite the fact it is an essential component of the best presentations. Practise is more than just repetition, reading notes whilst sat in front of a laptop or mentally “going through things”. It must be purposeful and ideally with a presentation buddy. The best version of a presentation is never version 1.0 Practise until you really know the presentation.
Practise with no support, going commando, is very helpful. Standing at the other end of a room from your laptop, changer in hand and delivering the whole piece as a dress rehearsal begins to approach the feelings of The Big Day. It is essential to keep going whatever happens. If the p1 appears to be in the wrong order, if the p2 has an error or if the p3 runs aground, it is a great skill to develop the ability to get out of trouble and continue. Think about it, it is much better to do this when only your cat is in the audience rather than the 2000 delegates. It also allows focus to be different. Initially this will simply be on completing the task but it frees another part of the mind to look ahead and see links, to feel what works and what doesn’t, to actually vocalise rather than reading out a written piece, all these opportunities are lost to the presenter who fails to practise commando.
Lastly, the effort to practise commando is one of the most helpful tricks in addressing stage fright. Most fear can he quantified. Fear of forgetting the script, fear of not being protected by the lectern, fear of the slides not working all can be be approached by working through those actual problems but in the safety of one’s own home. The confidence derived is the confidence we admire in our presentation heroes. To deliver a great presentation requires it firstly to be constructed but then edited and delivered. To practise commando is the most valuable tool in achieving this great presentation.