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[Speaking-Out-Loud July 2016] Why being REAL gets better with practice
July 31, 2016

In this Issue

Natural v Scripted speech

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Practicing to become the best of yourself

How often have you heard people make statements like these?

I never practice. I want my speech to be spontaneous.
I'm all about being in the now - sounding natural.
I want to come across as real - authentic, not like a scripted robot.

Yes, they're winging it. Avoiding rehearsal.

Practice is often forgotten about or dismissed as something for perfection seeking control freaks - something not worry about. After all if you've written or prepared your speech presentation, you're done, right?

Wrong! A prepared speech needs live testing. Reading the notes or running it through in your head doesn't do it. A potential chasm lurks between what you imagine in the safety of your mind and reality. The only way to avoid falling into its dark embrace is to rehearse - to practice.

From notes to speech

Notes only become a speech when they are spoken. Words on paper are half a speech. It is completed, made whole, through delivery and it's delivery (how you say your words, what you do while you are saying them), that can make the difference between an effective and successful presentation, and a poor one.

What rehearsal/practice does

Practice will let you know:

  • if your opening and conclusion is effective
  • if your content flows logically
  • if you've got smooth transitions between your major points
  • if you've got too much, or too little, to say for your time allowance
  • if your accompanying slides or other visual aids work as you intended

Rehearsal will also allow you to:

  • experiment with gesture - where, why, how, and what? Does what you're saying need a smile, or a grimace? A wave of your hand?
  • play with movement - say this line from one side of the stage and move for the next?
  • look closely at your vocal variety - how should this line/word be said? Softly, loudly, quickly, slowly, a pause before it ...
  • get feedback from trusted friends or colleagues
  • fine tune the technical details - lighting, sound, screen, sight lines between you and the audience ...

The fear that you will sound robotic or scripted is a mistake. Rehearsal lets you experiment. It lets you find out safely where your strengths and weaknesses are. A person only looks and sounds robotic if they adhere slavishly to a script, if they ignore their audience.

A speech is dynamic - an interaction between yourself, the speaker, and your audience. To do more than "wing it" or "go through the motions", active, live, out-loud practice is the only possible solution. There are no short cuts. The more you do the better, and more natural, speaker you will become.


Here's 7 basic step-by-step rehearsal tips to take you safely from notes to stage.

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What's new

4 thousand plus likes and shares!

That's a whole lot of people having fun with these public speaking games.
This page has ten activities - all of them perfect for group practice for middle school and up. They're fun, and very effective for building skills and confidence. If you teach or lead a public speaking group, check it out.

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And now some inspiration

Here you go! It's winter in my part of world - rain beating on the windows, wind howling. It's cold! This is a perfect mix of motivational speeches to shut out the grey day, warm the heart, and fire the imagination.

There's J.K. Rowling: “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination” (2008), David Foster Wallace: "This Is Water" (2005), Brené Brown: "The Power of Vulnerability" (2013),[I love the animated video.], Al Pacino: "Inch by Inch" (1999), Steve Jobs: "How to Live Before You Die" (2005) plus 11 more.

Comment, share & connect

If you've got comments, feedback or questions you're most welcome to contact me through my about me page.

If you liked this issue of Speaking-Out-Loud, please feel free to send it on to any friends or family. The site url to forward so they can subscribe is Speaking-Out-Loud.

And I'd love to see you on's face book page too.

Until next time,
Happy speaking,


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