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Insights on Communication Skills and Relationship Building

Presentation Training: How to Build a Rehearsal Calendar

Posted by Bridget Beirne on July 19, 2012

At Ovation, as part of our Presentation Training, we feel that the Rehearsal Process used by actors is the most useful way to prepare for a presentation of any kind. By building a rehearsal calendar for your presentations, you can keep yourself on track, easily learn your content and blocking*,  avoid the last-minute (stress inducing!) time crunch. Keeping in mind that for some presentations you may know months in advance (we’re looking at you, keynote conference speakers…), and for some you may have just days, we’ve picked a time frame of a month. Remember, devoting a bit of time each day (even just an hour!) can make a huge difference.

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Here’s your Rehearsal Calendar Breakdown:

Week 1- 2.5: Finalize (or write!) your script: Try to find at least an hour a day to build your presentation. Chances are it will change as you rehearse. However, having a basic script to work from will make it easier to change things down the road. Imagine an actor trying to rehearse for a play or a movie that was only an idea. It would not end well.

Week 2.5- 3: Read and familiarize: Take roughly half a week (again, only an hour a night) to simply sit and read through your presentation. The repetition will not only breed familiarity with your content, but point up any obvious structural issues. Remember, reading out loud will get your voice going as well as give you an idea of how long your presentation runs.

Week 3: Block It!: Use this week to block the movement in your presentation. Split your content into parts (10- 20 minute sections work well), and give each portion its own evening. Figure out things like where you will move in that section, where your body is in space, how your voice is feeling, and your relationship to your visual aids. Try to have a nightly review of everything you’ve covered before you start a new section.

Week 4: Tech Week*: This is the time when you should start bringing in all of the outside elements that will be involved in your presentation. Start by using your PowerPoint as you rehearse on your feet, and add in important elements like shoes and clothes as you go.

Week 4, Day 6 & 7 Final Dress Rehearsal: This is your final chance to rehearse your presentation with every element in place except the audience- visual aids, clothing, shoes, content, etc. If at all possible, try to get into your presentation space. Can’t get into the room or theatre? Give yourself a final dress rehearsal at home. If you’ve stuck to your rehearsal schedule, you should be ready to go!

*Bonus Fact!: Blocking is what actors call the pre-determined movement in a play. Tech Week is what actors call the week leading up to a production. This is when the show truly starts to come together.


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Topics: Public Speaking, Presentations, Acting, Theatre