Public Speaking – Why Rehearse?

11 Deadly Presentation Sins by Rob Biesenbach
11 Deadly Presentation Sins by Rob Biesenbach

If you want to deliver a successful presentation, you will spend a lot more time preparing for your presentation than you will speaking. Even highly experienced speakers must devote time to preparation, including rehearsal. My friend and colleague, Rob Biesenbach names inadequate rehearsal as one of the “11 Deadly Presentation Sins.” In his recent book with this title, Rob explains why we must include rehearsal in our preparation for any presentation:

Woe to the audience whose speaker decides to just wing it, for they shall be trapped in the pit of despair. Why do people think they can just get up there and perform on the fly? Maybe they overestimate their own abilities. Maybe it’s bravado (“I did a Half-Ironman in under five hours—I got this!”). Maybe they just don’t want to take the time.

From what I’ve observed over the years, one of the biggest hang-ups that business presenters have about rehearsal is the concern that they’ll appear “too scripted.” They feel that if their performance is too smooth, they’ll come across as slick, overproduced, inauthentic.

I’ve actually found the opposite to be true. The more I plan and prepare, the more comfortable and spontaneous I’ll appear.

Actors will easily spend over a hundred hours rehearsing for a stage show. They work their lines, practice their movements, think through all the relationships, explore all the nuances, try different things. And ultimately the result of all that preparation is freedom.

Rob Biesenbach
Rob Biesenbach, Actor, Speaker, Communications Expert, and Author of “11 Deadly Presentation Sins”

That’s right—freedom. The script is no longer a straitjacket. It’s so thoroughly embedded in their consciousness that it flows forth naturally. It’s the difference between riding a wave and swimming against the tide.

Freeing yourself from the worries about what comes next and how something should be phrased allows you to live in the moment, play with the material, and—dare I say it—have fun.

Rob Biesenbach is an independent corporate communications pro, actor, author and speaker. He is a former VP at Ogilvy PR Worldwide and press secretary to the Ohio Attorney General, and has written hundreds of speeches for CEOs and other executives. He is also a Second City trained actor who has appeared in more than 150 stage, commercial and film productions in the past decade. His first book, Act Like You Mean Business: Essential Communication Lessons from Stage and Screen, was published in 2011 by Brigantine Media. His latest book, 11 Deadly Presentation Sins offers a path to redemption for public speakers, PowerPoint users, and anyone who has to get up and speak in front of an audience. For more information visit:

Thank you Rob!

“You have to master technique, in order to abandon it.” – Robert Fripp

How to Rehearse for Your Talk,” and “Is Your Audience Hearing What You Want to Communicate?” are two of many complimentary articles to help guide your rehearsal as you prepare for your presentation.

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