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Sunday, 11 September 2016 02:32

How much practicing in front of mirror is helpful for public speaking?

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What do you see when you look in the mirror?I’m not a fan of standing in front of a mirror and practicing public speaking. I know it is often recommended, but for me, I found it to be awkward and stilted.

First off, I don’t believe that it is accurate. Sure it has to be accurate, it’s a mirror image of what we are actually doing. But as a mirror image, it is reflecting to us what the audience sees, not what we see. I don’t believe that our brains can adequately process the difference between what we see through our eyes and how the audience sees us.

Secondly, when I was first practicing speaking out loud and watching myself in the mirror and timing my speech, I found that I had countless false starts. I found that all the things I was watching in the mirror were taking away from my concentration on the delivery of my content.

As speakers in North America most of us speak an average of 125 to 150 words a minute. We can pick up the speed a little to 250 words a minute, however we will likely lose most of our audience. They will be unable to process what we are saying and keep up to us. Our minds work at the speed of 1000 words or so a minute.

As a beginning speaker, we need to focus our mind and those thousand words a minute on the content and delivery of our speech. As we become more self-confident, skilled at public speaking and know our material, then we can focus on the aspects of public speaking, such as how the audience sees us.

Rather than using a mirror, in the beginning, I would recommend secluding yourself in a room to practice delivering your speech. I would set up stuffed animals or even dolls around the room. This allows you to deliver your speech, move your eye contact around the room to each of the ‘toys’ individually. It avoids the self-judgement that many of us have while looking at ourselves in the mirror.

As one becomes more comfortable with actually speaking out loud, recording yourself digitally can be helpful. This can be done with a camcorder, smart phone or a webcam. This would portray your performance accurately as a mirror does, but because you review it after you are finished, it takes the pressure and distraction off of you when viewing it live.

When you review the video of your presentation you can make note of how effective your vocal variety, facial gestures and hand gestures were. We learn by practicing. So if you factor the improvements into your following practicing you will most likely become comfortable using them.

To become a better speaker, at some point in time, you actually have to speak publicly. Friends and family can be helpful. Eventually, after they have heard your presentation a few times you might wear them down and they will lose their interest and objectivity.

I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend attending a local Toastmasters club as a way to practicing speaking before a live audience.

Thanks for your question and good luck with your speaking publicly.

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Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANEI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 20+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic. He is a long-time member of Kelowna Flying Solo Toastmasters and is the driving force behind its long-term success. 

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.

Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books:

Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly!

PROtect Yourself!PROtect Yourself! Empowering Tips & Techniques for Personal Safety: A Practical Violence Prevention Manual for Healthcare Workers.

E=Emcee SquaredE=Emcee SquaredTips & Techniques to Becoming a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth


Phone Rae 250-451-6564 or

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Copyright 2015 & 2016 Rae Stonehouse. The above document may be freely copied and distributed as long as the author’s name and contact info remain attached.

To learn more about Rae A. Stonehouse, visit the Wonderful World of Rae Stonehouse at http://raestonehouse.com

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