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Hi! I'm Simon Bucknall, and in 2008 I won the European Championship of public speaking. At the Art of Connection, we help ambitious professionals to connect with our audience and we do it by bringing world class communications expertise into the training room to enable our clients to persuade, influence, and inspire others. How to practice a speech? Well, everyone has their own way that works for them. All I can do is offer a few thoughts and techniques that have worked for me, maybe they will work for you too. If you have written a speech out word for word, it doesn't always happen but if you have and you actually have a script, what I find helpful to do is to walk around and read it out loud. This works particularly in the early stages where it's not embedded in your head. It takes time to internalize a speech, so the process of reading and then reading it out loud—speaking the words as you go is a helpful way of doing it because you are picking up on the words both visually and also through the process of actually speaking. A second technique that has worked really well for me in the past is to record it on to maybe an i-phone or you've got a digital recorder, any device that works for you and play it back but as you do so say the words out loud. Again it's that combination of hearing it and speaking it, it will just help you to get the words embedded in your head. A third thing you can do and this is slightly different, particularly for example giving a slide presentation or you're giving a speech in a different setting - maybe it's a business presentation or talk - is to run through the logic flow so that the idea is connected clearly in your mind. This is less about the delivery of it and more about the flow of logic. You can do this in a couple of ways. One is to stand still and literally speak the words, forget the delivery; it is just speaking the words and as you get more familiar with the material you might try to speed up. If you can start to deliver a talk really fast the only way you can do that is by knowing the material well. So the faster you are able to practice it the better you know the speech. Another option, and this more of a delivery-related point, is to go over the words of the speech in your mind, so don't actually say the words; go over them in your mind but then move and do the gestures that you would use to communicate those words. This is a great way of measuring and gauging how well you are using the space available to you. Like I said there is a whole range of different ways and there is no right or wrong way to proactive a speech. What counts is what works for you but those are some simple things that you can use. I hope they are helpful.
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