PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

Last week I talked about the tendency speakers have to give inadequate attention to how they will end.  This leads to weak conclusions and poor last impressions.

This weekend, I found myself falling victim to a closely related tendency: the tendency to practice the last third of a presentation less than the first two-thirds.

I set aside Friday afternoon to practice a talk I had to give Saturday afternoon.  As I practiced, I kept stopping and backing up every time a segment didn’t flow smoothly.  I would re-tool it and then start again earlier in the message.  It’s the speech practice equivalent of backing up to get a running start at something new.

I’m sure you can envision what this led to.  The front end of my talk was getting more practice repetitions than the back end.  I was setting myself up to become less smooth the further I went into my talk.

Fortunately, I caught myself and made it a point to practice the last third without backing up to an earlier point.  It took some willpower, but it paid off with a more evenly rehearsed piece.

Fully prepare a strong ending.  Practice the last third as much as the first two-thirds.  The result will be sustained quality all the way to the last word.

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