The #1 response I get when I recommend to my clients that they factor in time to practice their speech is “I don’t have time,”  followed by “I know this stuff, I don’t need to practice.”  Let’s tackle the first one today, and for the sake of argument, let’s assume that you truly cannot find time in your calendar to deliver your speech from start to finish at least once.  Then it’s time for Plan B.  Below are three ways you can practice the fundamentals of effective speaking while going through your daily routine:

1. Running a meeting: Practice speaking in a succinct manner when you introduce the agenda, the purpose of the meeting, and the ideal outcome you will achieve before everyone goes back to their desks.

2. Ordering from a menu: How often do you hold up the ordering process because you don’t know what you want or have a hard time communicating your order?  Today you will practice improved communication:   scan the menu, think it through in your head, when the waitperson comes to the table, look them in the eye and without any word fillers, tell them what you want. By the way, you can do this at the drive-thru as well. Not one “um” – that’s the goal.

3. Leaving a voicemail message: This is the best way to critique yourself.  The next time you get someone’s voicemail greeting, leave your message and then press the * key (or whichever key allows playback) and listen to yourself.  How did you do?  What can be improved? Then, erase your first message and try again.  Voila – instant, real world practice.

Now do you see why we emphasize practicing your speech?

– Barbara Roche