Everyday, you communicate with people — whether you’re speaking on stage to a live audience, presenting a webinar to thousands of online viewers, meeting one-on-one with colleagues, clients, or potential customers.
Many of these performances are high-stake situations. Your audience will enjoy your presentation or become bored. You’ll land a new client or lose a sale. You’ll make an important connection or alienate a potential partner. Mistakes during these moments can make or break your results.
That’s why rehearsal is so important. Practicing before you communicate can transform your presentation into a performance that affects the way people think, feel and act. It can also have a positive impact on your email marketing. You can make connections with people that’ll convince them to join your email list, engage with your messages, and eventually purchase.
During our recent webinar with speaking pro Amy Port of Heroic Public Speaking, she shared why rehearsal is an essential, yet often skipped, part of the performance process. And she then revealed her 7-step protocol to deliver amazing performances.
After earning her MFA in Acting from The Yale School of Drama, Port spent years acting professionally in theaters such as Seattle Repertory, Oregon Shakespeare, and Yale Rep, and working consistently in commercials. She now applies the skills of performance that only well-trained actors know to the coaching of ‘non-actors’ looking to crush their next performance. Below, learn 2 of the top 7 steps to deliver an amazing performance.
(Want to learn all the rehearsal secrets of the world’s best performers? Below we share 2 of the steps from Port’s 7-step rehearsal protocol. Register here to watch the entire recording of the webinar and learn all 7 steps.)
Rehearsal tip #1: Do a “table read” on your own.
As a writer or marketer, you would never publish the first draft of a blog post, landing page, or book. Instead, you write it, read it, and revise it. You might even have someone else review it as well.
And yet, when we speak, we often publish our first draft. That’s why Port recommends leveling up your performance by doing a “table read” after completing the first draft of your talk. A table read is simply reading your draft out loud.
“When we’re creating our content for the spoken word, we’re creating it on our keyboard. But that’s very different than actually saying it,” Port said. “So in an table read, you take that language and, rather than reading it on a screen silently by yourself, you read it as if you’re talking to another human being.”
By reading it aloud to yourself, you get to experience your content in three different ways: seeing the words, speaking the words, and hearing the words.
And you begin to discover words or phrases that trip you up. Maybe your speech feels a bit robotic. Or perhaps your point doesn’t make sense, or your speech lacks a cohesive flow.
The AWeber team does table reads before nearly every video we produce. We sit around a table, script in hand, and read it out loud, noting words or phrases that are confusing, unnatural, or difficult to say.
To do a table read, you don’t need a polished script or a fully baked presentation. All you need is a first draft of your performance.
Before your table read, you should have already given some thought to what you want to say. Don’t sit down and start ad libbing.
And during your table read, have a pen or pencil in hand and circle the portions you want to review and revise. Don’t stop and edit in the moment. Keep reading. Then, once you’ve finished, return to the areas you highlighted during your read.
Rehearsal tip #2: Improv, record, and re-write.
With a table read and some revisions to your speech under your belt, it’s now time for an improv rehearsal.
Just like the table read, you do this on your own. But here’s where the improv is different: Your presentation is more complete, and you’re presenting it as if you’re in front of a live audience.
The key to this step is to record your improv rehearsal. So pull out your voice memo or video camera on your smartphone and start recording.
When you record it, you’ll capture everything you do and say. You’ll discover things you like and don’t like. You may find that you say something differently than you’ve ever said it before. Or, you might find that you’re constantly wringing your hands or bouncing up and down, or making other unconscious gestures that hurt your performance. You’ll be able to note these great moments and mistakes and rehearse your performance over and over again so you deliver it the same way every time.
Learn 5 more steps from Amy Port’s protocol
Don’t wait until you’re on stage or in the moment to discover that something doesn’t work. By knowing what works and what doesn’t ahead of time, you’re able to make adjustments, level up your work, and bring your performance to new heights.
Watch the entire recording of Port’s webinar and learn all 7 steps of her rehearsal protocol to deliver great performances time and time again.
Need some more help with your public speaking? Join Port and her team at Heroic Public Speaking LIVE, October 1 to 3 in Philadelphia, PA. The AWeber team will be there as a sponsor. Come meet up with us to learn how to use email marketing to reach and connect with your audience off stage.