Rehearsal Is Key

Justin Bigger


In Chapter four of Management Communication, James O’Rourke focuses on speaking and over the course of the chapter develops a comprehensive framework for giving a successful management speech. He begins by stressing the importance of things like developing strategies and knowing your audience; and concludes with rehearsing the speech and ultimately delivering it. While all of these steps are important and can make or break a good speech, I believe that rehearsing is often the most overlooked and underutilized step in speech preparation.


Over the course of my life I’ve had to make several speeches. Some of them were successful while others were colossal failures. If I reminisce solely on the bad speeches, a common theme begins to develop. I didn’t adequately prepare the delivery of the speech. I didn’t rehearse it. Rehearsal is so important, because the only way to practice a speech is to deliver it. If I really think back to those speeches, they were great on paper. The quality of the writing was some of my best, and I didn’t think that rehearsing was necessary. I thought the speech would deliver itself. One of my worst experiences with speaking came when I had to give a speech on game theory for a class. I had my slides prepared, and I knew what I wanted to say; but when I went up to deliver the speech, I froze. My mind went blank and fear took over. I couldn’t recover because I didn’t adequately prepare for the situation.


Ever since that bad experience I have always rehearsed every speech I give. It’s one thing to have complete confidence in what you have written, but having confidence that you can communicate what you have written effectively through speaking is an entirely different concept. The only way to develop the confidence to deliver your speech effectively is to practice speaking it over and over and over again. It must become second nature. And by the time you have to step up and deliver the speech, you can be confident that you are prepared to deal with any type of situation that might develop.

By mandybowling

2 comments on “Rehearsal Is Key

  1. I’ve had similar experiences with being under prepared for speeches in the past. I would spend so much time researching the topic and writing the speech that I would leave rehearsal as an after-thought at best. I would tell myself that I knew the material well enough that it would be a piece of cake, but that was only half true. My problem wasn’t that I would fumble with the material so much as I would talk as fast as I could just to be through with it; this generally resulted in the audience becoming confused or disinterested. It is something I am still working on, but I can tell it is not nearly as much of an issue as it was previously.

  2. I enjoyed this post! It is very true that rehearsal is as important to the speech as the content itself. After years in school, it has become very easy to spot those students who put forth the effort to practice and those who have decided to just “wing it”. A failure of mine came at a regional conference for my honor society; I was unaware that I would be presenting and after one days notice, I felt embarrassed and disappointed in my performance. The best that we can do is learn from our mistakes and do better in the future!

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