Public Speaking Lab

What If I Don’t Have Anyone To Practice My Presentation With?

A great question came my way recently. Someone saw my video about the importance of practicing in front of others to harness that invaluable dose of stress that truly sharpens your public speaking skills. But – what if you’re stuck in a situation where you don’t have anyone to practice with, and a big presentation is looming on your calendar?

We all know that when you’re practicing in isolation, it’s easy to get comfortable, even complacent. There’s no judgmental gaze, no prying eyes – it’s just you and your thoughts. But that won’t help your nerves. So, what should you do? Find an audience, even if it’s a reluctant one or practice out loud. 

This way, when the real presentation day comes, you’ll be better prepared, more confident, and far less likely to be thrown off by the inevitable nerves.

Practice makes perfect

In the absence of a readily available audience, don’t let the lack of a practice partner deter you. Instead, embrace the opportunity to practice your presentation where others can see you, even if it’s in unconventional locations like the lunchroom, outside your building, or while taking a walk around the block.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Why am I talking to myself in public? I look insane!” But here’s the kicker – even if there’s not a soul in sight, you’re going to feel like they’re all around you. Your heart races, your palms get a bit sweaty, and you suddenly become hyper-aware of your words. Practicing in a public space, even when you’re seemingly alone, introduces an element of self-consciousness that mirrors the nerves you might experience in front of an audience. The mere act of speaking out loud in a shared environment heightens your awareness and triggers a sense of being observed, replicating the anxiety associated with presenting to a group and that’s precisely the kind of stress that can take your public speaking skills to new heights.

The lunchroom becomes your impromptu stage, the street your makeshift podium, and the block your rehearsal space. As you articulate different parts of your presentation, you’ll find that the awareness of potential onlookers, even if they’re not there, cultivates a palpable sense of nervousness. This simulated self-consciousness is a valuable tool in preparing for the real deal.

The key is to embrace this self-imposed pressure as a constructive element of your preparation. By navigating this self-consciousness in a controlled setting, you effectively acclimate yourself to the nerves that may arise during the actual presentation. This method of practice not only sharpens your verbal delivery but also hones your ability to manage performance anxiety in real-time.

So, when you find yourself without a practice partner, seize the chance to practice where others can see you, even if it’s just the invisible audience of your surroundings. It’s a dynamic way to replicate the nervous energy of a live presentation and ensure that you step into that meeting room or auditorium with a newfound level of preparedness and confidence.

Believe me, this solo practice technique works wonders. The nervousness you simulate while practicing solo becomes your secret weapon. When the real presentation day comes, you’ve essentially toughened yourself up for the big show. The next time you find yourself flying solo in your practice sessions, remember this strategy and embrace the journey to public speaking greatness!