How to get your presenters to do a true dry run before presenting

How to get your presenters to do a true dry run

Marketers and event planners know that the dry run is essential to successful presentations and conferences. Yet, all too often, presenters don’t take the dry run seriously or fail to show up at all.

I’ve conducted presentation training and rehearsals for years. While most of the time speakers show up, often they won’t take the time to perform a true rehearsal. I’ve heard every excuse for avoiding the dry run:

  • “I don’t have time.”
  • “I’ve spoken on this topic before.”
  • And my favorite, “I’m better when I wing it.”

The truth is that everyone performs better when they prepare and conduct a true dry run. Everyone.

So how can marketers and event planners get speakers to conduct a true dry run? Here are 3 tips:

  • Schedule more than one session
  • Show videos of presenters and their colleagues
  • Remind them that even famous people rehearse

Schedule more than one dry run

To be fair to our presenters, they are busy. Client calls, crises, and other matters arise. That’s why you need to schedule more than one dry run. In fact, I recommend scheduling three.

In the best case, your presenter will show up to all three meetings and truly take the time to prepare and rehearse, which greatly increases the chances of getting your organization’s message heard.

In the worst case, your presenter will blow off all three dry runs. That’s why you may also need to apply some other tactics of persuasion.

Show videos of previous presentations

Chances are high this is not your speaker’s first presentation ever. Try to find a video or even audio of their past presentations. Most people are self-critical, so watching or hearing themselves often prompts them to want to do better. It may even persuade them to show up at the dry run.

Can’t find a recording of your presenter? Try to find a recording of someone else at your organization presenting. Oftentimes watching a colleague’s presentation brings out their competitiveness and spurs people to want to do as good or ideally much better.

If you can’t find any video, make sure you can record the upcoming presentation and let your presenter know it will be recorded and used both internally and externally. Knowing their bosses and clients may see their presentation often encourages presenters to do a full dry run.

Even famous people conduct dry runs

If all else fails, remind your presenter that it takes hours and hours of practice to become an expert at something, as Malcolm Gladwell explains in his book Outliers.

Professional actors never skip the dry run.
Professional actors never skip the dry run.

All great speakers conduct dry runs, and actors and musicians always rehearse before performances. Your presenter should too.

Getting presenters to show up for this can be frustrating. What helps you get speakers to take it seriously? Scheduling multiple sessions, showing videos of previous presentations, and reminding them that even famous people rehearse.

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