Mirror, Mirror – How to practise a speech

“How can I practice my presentation?” is a question I frequently hear from clients wanting to perfect their pitch between coaching sessions. Usually its followed by “Should I practice in front of a mirror?”


There are many reasons why I don’t encourage clients to waste their time delivering a speech in front of a mirror. But the two key reasons are related to what you want to achieve when you practice.


Firstly, you want to verify that you are comfortable with the material and your delivery of it. At first glance this might sound like it’s a perfect reason to place yourself in front of a full length mirror to practice. It is not! What you want to achieve is confirmation that your ideas/key points flow smoothly and you know your material. This can be done without watching yourself in a mirror. You need to verify that your delivery is polished in a room or speaking area as close to what yo’u’ll be delivering the live presentation in…. The average width of a full-length mirror is no reflection of the stage that you’ll be speaking on.


More importantly when practising your presentation you want to assess that the material is targeted at the right level for the intended audience. The best way to achieve this is find a colleague to assess your presentation from the perspective of your intended audience. Crave their honest, unbridled feedback! They can assess your material and how you deliver it.


All of this leads me to suggest to you that the best way for you to practice your presentation is to simulate real life as much as possible. Find a room, find some friends or colleagues to watch and deliver your presentation to them. If you want to see how you look – video it on your smart phone and watch it afterwards.


Standing in front of mirror won’t provide you the opportunity to assess your presentation across the areas you need to verify. Taking the time to find a practice audience will provide you with greater self-development and more refinement of your pitch. Practice only makes perfect when its done right!


About The Author

Mark Kyte

Mark Kyte is a public speaking mentor and founder of the Public Speaking Skills Academy. Mark loves helping clients achieve dynamic results that help them increase their influence and get more clients. Read more of his blog and if you like what you see check out the mentoring programs.