American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Rehearsal and Delivery Tips 

Timing, Content, and Rehearsal | During Your Presentation | Question & Answer

Timing, Content, and Rehearsal

  • Each slide should be displayed for at least ten seconds, and no longer than two minutes.
  • Each statement you make should be an average of 12 words.
  • Each concept should have three to four statements to support it.
  • Practice your presentation, and remember that practice usually runs 20% faster than your actual presentation.
  • Visit the speaker ready at least four hours prior to your presentation to upload your session.
  • Utilize the speaker ready room to preview your visuals and make any changes.

During Your Presentation

  • Take a few deep breaths before you begin.
  • Talk into the microphone.
  • Fold back the upper corner of your notes so pages can be turned easily.
  • Prepare your script with cues for yourself (smile, pause here, etc.).
  • Address your talk to the back of the room if you are nervous.
  • Speak in a friendly, relaxed manner.
  • Remember, you are telling a story - no matter how technical the information is.
  • State your objectives at the beginning of your presentation.
  • Consider asking the audience for their "burning questions" to make sure you address them during your presentation.
  • Converse with your audience, and try not to read to them.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Track your time to avoid running over.
  • Be prepared for interruptions.
  • Have a prepared and memorable summary.
  • Give credit to others who contributed.
  • Take time to pause, it will give the audience time to catch up with you and digest.
  • Have notes, but use them sparingly.
  • Use personal examples and stories in your speech whenever possible.
  • Stay relaxed.

Question & Answer

  • Repeat each question so that the entire audience hears it.
  • Take a moment to reflect on the question/s.
  • Wait for the attendee to finish their entire question before you start to answer.
  • Avoid prolonged discussions with one person. If you can't answer their question quickly:
    • Offer to research an answer and get back to them via email.
    • Suggest resources where they can get an answer.
    • Postpone the question for the end of the talk or a private discussion after the session.
    • Ask for audience suggestions
  • Make materials available after session (your handouts should be posted on the ASHA Web site).
  • Make yourself available after session.
  • Anticipate possible questions.
  • Use the last question to summarize.

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