From initial research to creating the deck, there’s a lot that goes into any presentation. Whether you’re pitching to prospects, meeting with clients or standing up in front of your team, you probably go to great lengths to ensure you’re prepared. One aspect you may be forgetting? Rehearsing your presentation.

Maegan Stevens, the senior director of communication services at Duarte, says many people miss this critical step. As a result, their delivery falls flat, which can negate all their hard work. If you usually just do a quick run-through before a presentation, try a different approach. We share some tips from Stevens in this issue of PromoPro Daily.

1. Host a dress rehearsal. Wear what you plan to wear in the actual presentation and practice using the technology you’ll use. If possible, book time to practice in the same setting. A rehearsal should feel as close to the real thing as possible, Stevens says. Be sure to practice presenting out loud using a conversational tone. Stevens recommends scanning your notes enough to jog your memory and then talking freely about the topic.

2. Make the time. You may not want to set aside time in your day to rehearse your presentation, but it will be worth it. Stevens recommends asking: How high are the stakes? If your talk can impact your job, your team or your organization, it’s worth setting aside time to rehearse. Stevens says if you’re still on the fence about rehearsing, use the motto: When in doubt, carve it out.

3. Prepare — but don’t overdo it. Practicing before you present is a smart thing to do, Stevens says, but over rehearsing can be just as dangerous as not preparing at all. There are some surefire signs that you have practiced enough. One sign, she says, is when you’re memorizing words instead of concepts. It’s important to get your content right, but word-for-word memorization shouldn’t be the goal. Another sign of over-preparation is when you start to sound robotic. Audiences can tell when you’re tied to your script, Stevens says, and they don’t like it.

After investing days or weeks creating a presentation, you may not want to spend time rehearsing it. But this is a crucial step to ensure you get the delivery just right. Set aside rehearsal time but watch for the signs that you’re over-preparing. Practicing the proper amount can pay dividends.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Maegan Stevens is the senior director of communication services at Duarte.