Monday, November 7, 2011
How many rehearsals should you do before giving a presentation?
Or, what ratio of rehearsal time to presentation time is sufficient to push your speech up to excellent? I went looking for a specific number but instead found a huge range of answers.
When you don’t rehearse at all, you are likely to have a presentation disaster, as described by Nick Morgan.
Alan L. Stevens suggested that that one or two rehearsals are sufficient, since you want to sound fresh when you speak. (I think that’s a bit low, and just will create an unfortunate event rather than a complete disaster).
Pete Ryckman suggested at least five rehearsals, while David Murray (who edits Vital Speeches of the Day) suggested eight. Ruth Sherman said ten was conservative, and noted that Winston Churchill had used 60. Fred E. Miller also said 60 was a good rule of thumb, but as a minimum. Steve Siebold mentioned that once he and Bill Gove did 130 rehearsals.
Why is there such a huge range of ratios? How large is your audience, and how important is your presentation? What level of finish is appropriate? Siebold and Gove did 130 rehearsals for a 45-minute speech given in a hockey stadium to 7,000 distributors. Introducing a product also calls for a large number of rehearsals, since the presentation likely will wind up archived on video posted on the web. When the stakes are lower, five to ten rehearsals might be more appropriate.