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Chapter Sixteen. The Final Stages > How to practice effectively

How to practice effectively

The key to delivering a good speech—whether you read it, speak from notes, or speak extemporaneously—is to know the speech very well. If you're reading, knowing the material will make the speech go smoother and with less chance of stumbling over words and phrases. If you're speaking from notes or an outline, the good words and phrases you labored over during the writing of the speech will come to you more readily. Practice may not make perfect, but it can keep a speaker from making a damned fool of himself.

After you have completed the speech and edited it thoroughly, read it over silently several times. Then read it aloud several more times, paying special attention to timing, pacing, pauses, tone, and emphasis. If you have someone you can trust to be an honest critic, read it to that person a couple of times and ask for sincere criticism.


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