There are a few things you can do 24 hours before delivering a speech that will maximize your chances of finding success and communicating effectively.
Before I break down the specifics to focus on in the last 24 hours, it’s important to note this advice is only helpful if you’ve adequately prepared for your speech in advance and practiced multiple times.
If you’re 24 hours away from giving a speech that you haven’t even started to think about yet, this column, unfortunately, won’t be of much help to you.
24 hours before your speech
Let’s assume it’s 6 p.m. and you’re giving a speech at 6 p.m. the next day. This is the ideal point in time to do one final full run through.
Find a quiet place and practice your speech as if you’re doing the real thing.
In other columns, I’ve talked about presenting in front of family members or friends to get their feedback and constructive criticism. However, I strongly suggest you don’t do that 24 hours before delivering your speech.
At that point in time, you’re committed to the speech you’ve prepared and you likely don’t have time to make significant changes. Feedback from others may negatively impact your confidence, and with only one day to go, you want your confidence to be as high as possible.
10 hours before your speech
You wake up and now there’s 10 hours until you are to deliver your speech.
At this point in time you should quickly go over your notes or slides one last time so they are fresh in your mind. Also, use this as a final check for any resources you may need for your speech.
Are your notes printed off? If you have any slides or visual aids, are those ready to go? Is your laptop charged if you are using it?
One hour before your speech
If it’s possible to get to the venue in advance, this is a great opportunity to understand the layout of the room and the area you will be speaking at.
Whenever possible, I personally like to go to the front of the room and look out at the chairs where people will eventually be seated. In my experience, this has been a game changer in building last-minute confidence, because when I eventually do step on stage, I’m already familiar with the vantage point and I feel more comfortable.
Also, use this opportunity to get familiar with the stage and figure out where you can set your notes if you’re using them.
A few minutes before your speech
It's almost show time!
Use the bathroom and then fill up a glass of water. Even if you think you don’t need water, sometimes our mouths get dry when we speak in front of a group, so it’s best to have water on hand.
Depending on the room layout, if there is a place you can stand to the side before walking directly on stage, try to stand up a few minutes before your speech so your body is ready to go.
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This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.