Carmie McCook featured in Smart CEO Magazine

Single Biggest Public Speaking Tip: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

“CEOs often don’t view preparing for a speech as a top priority. So when opportunities come up, they don’t dedicate enough time to customize the content, and certainly not enough time to properly rehearse. When they spend little or no time practicing the delivery, they end up reciting their speech, and you know how exciting that is.

We sometimes feel compelled to read every word when every word is on the page. And when you flub up, it makes you more nervous. Try to work off bullet-pointed notes so you aren’t reading a script. You will automatically sound more conversational, and when you talk from the heart, your credibility goes up. Also, videotape yourself practicing and play it back.

“And never practice in front of a mirror. It’s not natural and you have too many visual distractions. You are too busy thinking, ‘My mouth looks funny,’ or ‘My hair is crooked,’ or whatever. Besides, how can you practice making eye contact with an audience when you are staring at yourself in a mirror?”

Carmie McCook is the President of Carmie McCook & Associates, Based in Washington, D.C.