Whenever you are preparing for doing any sort of public speaking, there are some things you can’t do to control how well you do.
However nervous you might be feeling about your impending speech, the one thing you can do is prepare by practicing.
Which begs the question, “How do I practice?”
A good tactic for preparing for public speaking is just speaking to your wall. Or maybe you have a dog and you want to practice in front of her. Or maybe instead of a dog, you own one of those pet pigs (you weirdo).
Whatever you choose to practice in front of, you are engaging in the most important part of preparing for a speech; preparation.
But how much preparation is enough should we do?
Over the years, I’ve answered this question with a simple rule…
The 1 Rep Per Minute Rule of Public Speaking
My rule is quite simple. For any speech over 5 minutes long, you must practice the speech the number of times the speech is long.
This is a rule I have enforced over the years to make sure I have done the minimum necessary preparation for a speech or presentation.
There are a couple of things that need to be explained for this rule.
- For speeches anywhere from 0-5 minutes in length, you must do 5 repetitions of the speech.
- This is assuming you have already written the speech, or written a script for your presentation or demonstration.
- Interruptions like videos in the middle of the speech do not count.
It’s as simple as that.
Have a 7-minute speech you want to give to your beloved girlfriend before you propose? You better pump that out that speech least 7 times before you get on your one knee in front of her, or face the possibility of bombing and dooming yourself to an eternity of masturbation and watching the bachelor alone!
1 Rep Per Minute Rule FAQs
How do I know how long my speech is before I give it?
If you have written it out, you should go to a word counter on Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or here. Find out approximately how many words are in your speech, story, or presentation. Since the average person speaks about 125 words per minute on the low end. take your word count and divide by 125 to get the length of time.
“If you have an 800 word speech then divide by 125 words per minute to get about 6.4 minutes. That will give you about 7 repetitions of speech practice rounding up.”-Horus, Greek God of Mathematics
What will happen if I follow this rule?
If your speech is acceptably written, you will at the least not bomb in front of people. This is the least we can hope for because our biggest fear when facing a public speaking scenario is an embarrassment of epic proportions. Our monkey brain tells us that if we make a fool of ourselves in front of the tribe, then even the grossest of the fertile women in the tribe will want nothing to do with us, and the alphas will be ashamed of us. That, my friends, is a formula for permanent exile from the tribe, and subsequent starvation.
Thankfully, it’s 2019 and we probably won’t be shunned and exiled from society if our incest joke bombs. But we sure as hell don’t want to face that embarrassment.
So if you have a 10-minute speech prepared, and you practice it 10 times in front of your wall, the first 2 or 3 times will be painful even if you are alone. Because you will stumble on words, you will not know how to use your tonality right to intentionally convey certain messages, and you will jumble up the order and flow of the presentation.
But by the 4th, 5th, and 6th repetition, you will get a better handle of your speech because you will build muscle memory deep in your brain neurons.
By the 7th repetition, it is now about sharpening the sword and you should be good to go by the 10th. This is what practice does for you, and you’ll sharpen the sword just enough to be dangerous.
What if I don’t have time to practice my speech accordingly?
Well then my friend, I hope you are ready to be shamed for life for embarrassing the tribe! Prepare to be exiled!
We Fall to the Level of Our Preparation
Preparation is everything. The major way to calm the anxious voice in your head is to make sure that you have done the reps. Knowing what to say and when to say it is a matter of saying it over and over. The more practice you get, the more natural you will sound.
The words will come second nature, and then you can worry about the intangible things like making eye contact with each part of the room, smiling at the right time, and using body language to deliver each point more convincingly.