Finding the “Sweet Spot”

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I coach lots of people in developing and delivering presentations. The development includes considering lots of details about their audience and thinking through how the audience will benefit. Along those lines, we identify specific goals the speaker hopes to achieve…in other words, what will be the measure of success?

In addition to these strategic elements, I spend a lot of time with speakers on their delivery and “stagecraft.” We describe and practice the look of confidence and professionalism that serves as the platform for their strategic messages. How should they stand and move? How should they gesture? Where should they look? As we practice theses delivery skills, we sometimes rehearse a lot. Sometimes too much.

If a speaker looks over-practices and robotic, it can be a real turn off to an audience. Audiences respond well to realism and spontaneity. As speakers and presenters, we all need to find our “sweet spot” of rehearsing enough to feel comfortable with the flow of material, but not too much so that we appear lackluster and robotic. And everyone is different. I have one colleague who is stale after two rehearsals, and another who is still stumbling after ten. As with anything, you can only find your “sweet spot” with practice.

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