Rehearsing the Speech

The Importance of Rehearsing

Rehearsal provides opportunities to apply knowledge to practice different parts, see what works, and then put it together for a total speech.

Learning Objectives

Explain the value of rehearsal and what methods can be used to rehearse

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Rehearsal is important because you can apply your knowledge of public speaking to test out what works for you and learn from the experience in a safe environment.
  • Rehearsal is important because it allows you to practice different parts before you actually deliver the total speech to an audience.
  • Rehearsal is important because you can put the effective parts back together to create a total speech and practice before delivering it in front of the actual audience.
  • Plan a feedback strategy by recording for self- analysis or by receiving feedback from a friend or a coach.

Key Terms

  • synthesis: The formation of something complex or coherent by combining simpler things.
  • analysis: A process of dismantling or separating into constituent elements in order to study the nature, function, or meaning.
  • Praxis: The act of engaging, applying, exercising, realizing, or practicing ideas.

Importance Of Rehearsing

Rehearsal involves praxis, which usually refers to the process of putting theoretical knowledge into practice, through a constant cycle of conceptualizing the meaning of what can be learned from experience. Praxis is the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, practiced, embodied, or realized. Praxis may also refer to the act of engaging, applying, exercising, realizing, or practicing ideas.

You have been studying public speaking and learning about delivery, gathering information, organizing speeches, and selecting a method of delivery. Through rehearsal, you have the opportunity to separate what works from what does not work.

Rehearsal Through Analysis and Synthesis

During this period, it is important to break down the rehearsal into different chunks or skills for analysis, work with the smaller areas, and then strive for synthesis. You may learn by practicing different ways of actually expressing ideas, through which you can determine the best one. Alternatively, you can practice different styles of delivery such as speaking faster or slower. To learn from practice, you can record your work to view it later, or you can have a trusted friend or coach provide feedback.

You may have heard the phrase “practice makes perfect,” but before attempting to reach perfection, you must experiment to determine what it is you exactly want.

Rehearsal As Simulated Experience

Just like the contestants in the Miss Universe Pageant, you have an opportunity to practice on stage before the actual event. The learning that can occur in rehearsal is situated in a simulated experience. While rehearsing, you simulate the real speaking experience so you know what to expect. You can rehearse with the equipment or visual aids you will use, you can make sure that you are in control of the time, and you can rehearse answering questions for a Q&A session. You will know what to expect and ultimately feel more secure with your ability to perform in the actual speaking situation.

image

Miss Universe Contest Rehearsal: Contestants practice before the actual pageant so that they know where to stand and what to say.

To rehearse effectively, the speaker should:

  • Start early to allow yourself enough time to experiment, revise, and try again during rehearsal.
  • Plan a feedback strategy by recording for self-analysis or by receiving feedback from a friend or a coach.
  • Remember practice does not make perfect if you continue to practice ineffective strategies. Therefore, you must experiment and learn from the experience to improve the total speech.

Successful Rehearsing Habits: Mimic Timing and Context

Get in the habit of rehearsing all parts of the speech before delivery and revising as necessary.

Learning Objectives

List elements to consider when rehearsing a speech

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Rehearsal is a time to experiment, to play, and to mold your speech. Once you are satisfied that you have crafted the speech into the message you want, then you can practice with all the parts in place to develop your own style and approach to delivery.
  • You are not attempting to mimic an actor who is giving a performance. Rather, you are developing your own conversation with your audience. However, if you are going to mimic, observe and mimic natural conversation.
  • Consider the amount of time that it takes to deliver the speech, how to time your use of visual aids such as Power Point slides for presentations, and your rate of delivery.
  • Consider the physical environment, the technological and the situational context, as well as the larger world of the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the audience and speaker.
  • Speak in a conversational style. Do not talk at your audience; pretend you are talking with your audience.
  • Rehearse just as you plan to present. If possible, rehearse in the same location that you will deliver your speech.

Key Terms

  • mimic: To imitate, to mock, or to pretend.
  • Thespis: The first person ever to appear on stage as an actor playing a character in a play instead of speaking as him or herself.

Practice with all the Parts in Place

Rehearsal is a time to experiment, to play, and to mold your speech. Once you are satisfied that you have crafted the speech into the message you want, then you can practice with all the parts in place to develop your own style and approach to delivery.

image

Rehearsal: Rafi Niv, a performer and director, rehearses before going on stage.

Avoiding Mimicry

As a speaker you start with nothing but your idea or thesis to create and deliver your own message, whereas a mime recreates the character and dialogue that someone else invented. You should not be a mime who takes on a mask. If you mimic the behaviors of other speakers, you run the risk of not having a delivery that is natural for you. You are not attempting to mimic an actor who is giving a performance, you are developing your own conversation with your audience.

image

Marcel Marceau: Marcel Marceau, a mime, dressed up as Bip the Clown.

However, if you are going to mimic, observe and mimic natural conversation. You are yourself, not an actor on a stage like Thespis; you want to focus on bringing out your own natural conversational style.

Timing

You should consider the basics of timingthe amount of time it takes to deliver the speech, how to time your use of visual aids such as Power Point slides for presentations, and your rate of delivery.

Timing Basics

Generally, you will have a set amount of time to speak including Q & A. When rehearsing, you want to make sure to include all of the parts of the speech including quotes, examples, video clips, and visual aids. If you don’t include all aspects of the speech, you may run out of time and have to cut short important content during delivery.

When working with PowerPoint, you can control when each slide is projected for the audience by pre-programming it to advance each slide while you speak. The timing from one slide to the next will occur as you have programmed it without you having to be near the computer to control the slides. However, you must speak about each slide for the rehearsed amount of time or your slides will not synchronize with the speech.

Timing is not only about knowing how long you are going to speak, but also about how fast to speak, when to pause, and how long to pause to achieve the desired effect. You can vary the rate of speaking and the use of pausing to achieve different vocal effects as you practice.

Context

Context includes not only the physical environment, but also the technological and situational context. Ultimately, context includes the entire world, and the cultural and linguistic background of the audience and speaker.

Physical or environmental context: Ideally you want to rehearse in the same space using the same equipment you will use for your presentation. If you rehearse in the same space, you will learn to appreciate the special features of the room and the layout.

Technological Context: It is important to include equipment use when you rehearse. What equipment is in place? Will you be speaking directly to an audience or will you be using amplification? Will the audience be co-located with you face to face or will you be using teleconferencing equipment?

Situational context: It is important to note any special background about the room, place, or occasion. Consider and acknowledge any special significance the place may have for you or your audience. For example, did someone else recently speak in the same location that will influence how the audience will respond to your speech?

Tips for Speaker

  • Speak in a conversational style. Do not talk at your audience; pretend you are talking with your audience.
  • Rehearse just as you plan to present and, if possible, in the same location that you will deliver your speech.
  • Prepare for interruptions and questions. Make sure to leave room for a Q&A session at the end of your speech.
  • Rehearse with your graphics and coordinate them to your talk. Display them only when you are talking about them.
  • Time the individual parts and the total speech with a stopwatch and make sure to have a clock that you can see while speaking.
  • Make sure you record and listen to your speech after rehearsal and get feedback from friends or a coach.
  • During your final rehearsal, make brief notes for yourself so you know how long each point in the speech takes. Then mark your outline accordingly so you know if you are spending too much time on any given point during delivery.