Articles: Checklist for a Mind Rehearsal
Checklist for a Mind Rehearsal
If you suffer from stage fright before making a presentation,
the problem could be that you are spending too much
time worrying about yourself ("Will
they like me?") and not enough time thinking about
your audience ("Will they
In our presentations
teach presenters and trainers techniques
to replace self-consciousness with self-awareness.
of these techniques is called a "Mind Rehearsal," a checklist you run though
in your head before stepping out onto the platform or into the training room.
The next time you feel the presenter's butterflies, take a deep breath and
think about the answers to these questions:
- Who will attend the presentation? What kind of people
will you be speaking to? (Are they, for example, salespeople,
middle-managers, accountants, ex-cons, senior citizens?) Are they a
homogeneous group, or are they a "mixed" audience? What concerns will they
- Why will they attend? Because they've been told to, or
want to? (The answer to this question will determine how much motivation
your audience will need.)
- What will they already know about your subject? Will they
unaware or completely misinformed? Will you have to "begin at the
beginning?" Or will they already have a basic understanding and therefore
need only further clarification? In other words, at what level of awareness
- What "language" will the audience understand? Will they
"language" of computers? Or finance? Or management? Or engineering? If
they do not speak the language, what "translations" will you have to make
for them? (If your talk is about computers, can you assume that your audience
will know what you mean when you tell them how to
"boot the DOS?" Will you have to say "get the computer up and running"
- What will they want to learn from your presentation? All
establish clear objectives for their presentation. But it's also important
to consider what your audience's objectives might be. If their objective is
different from yours, you have a problem to solve before the presentation.
How will they respond to your objective? Will they be friendly and
open-minded? Or will they be resistant and skeptical, perhaps even hostile?
(Wouldn't you rather know this before the actual
- What does your audience know about you? Do you already
credibility with them? Or will you have to establish credibility in the
first few moments? Will the audience perceive you as "friend" or "foe"?
(The answer to this will determine your opening comments.)
Presenters who spend their "pre-show" time deciding how to answer these
questions will have little time left for self-conscious jitters.
©1996, E. Dowling for The Professional Training