Which part of your presentation should you practice the most?
Practice makes perfect.
Top-notch public speakers competing for the title of World Champion of Public Speaking practice their roughly seven-minute talks at least 200 times.
But what if your arena is the corporate world?
The pace and rigours of business life rarely allow us to practice a presentation nearly that often, unless it’s one of extremely high importance, like a keynote speech at a global event.
So we have to be strategic about time when practicing and prioritise cleverly. But how?
Practice the first three to four minutes of your presentation the most.
Why? Because we are all a little more nervous at the beginning. And if you get off to a good start, then that will give you a boost for the rest. Confidence is key for bringing your A-game. On the other hand, if you start poorly, then that is likely to mess with how self-assured you feel and you may well underperform throughout the presentation.
Which part is the second most important to rehearse thoroughly?
The end. Due to the recency effect, people often remember the end most. This is also when you will arrive at your main message if you took your audience on a journey of discovery with your presentation, or when you will reiterate your main message and deliver your call to action. Therefore, you wish to deliver it confidently and smoothly.
And what about the rest?
You shouldn’t wing it either. You should prepare it well and practice it enough to be able to deliver it well. However, if you need to prioritise practice time, remember that all parts of a presentation are equal, but some are more equal.