Imagine being with me this weekend as I speak at a mother/daughter tea. The little ladies will be dressed in their best, as well as their mothers before sitting at the fancy tea tables.

The presentation has been customized for the event and the audience. Now is the time to practice…but not before a mirror!

As a speaker, how often have you heard to practice your speech before a mirror to be at your best? As a certified speech teacher, I cringe when I hear this advice.

“Why?” Some of you may ask.

Practicing in front of a mirror restricts our space for full rehearsal movement. We look at ourselves instead of focusing on our audience.

The best place for practicing is in an open space. This area allows us the freedom to rehearse in the approximate realm of the platform where we will be performing.

I like to place parts of my presentation in different areas in the imagined stage space. This helps me to remember to get close to the audience in all areas by moving around. There is also an added value in having parts of my speech practiced in multiple spots. If I lose my train of thought, I can step away from the mark, pause quickly, and then step back into the rehearsed region where I automatically regain the message. Focusing on our audience by giving them the most meaningful concentration through eye contact, non-threatening interaction activities, and immediate applications is what connects us.

This week as I practice for the mother/daughter tea, you’ll not find me practicing for hours in front of a mirror, but rehearsing where each part of the presentation will be delivered from multi-areas on the platform.

This broken rule doesn’t bring seven years bad luck – – only closer connections with our audiences.

Practice on!


 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.       ~   Colossians 3:17


  1. 4-11-2012

    Great advice, Carolyn! For me, moving around on the platform releases nervous energy and helps me calm down. Love the tip about practicing in a specific area!

    • 4-11-2012


      As you spend your nervous energy by moving around on the platform, you’re also holding the audience’s attention.

      Speak on!

  2. 4-11-2012

    Great suggestion, Carolyn. I’ve never thought of it in this way, but you’re so right! Thank you for sharing it today. I’m praying His richest blessings as you speak with these precious mothers and daughters. I know you words will encourage and challenge them…as they do me.

    • 4-11-2012

      Speaking at a tea is always a special time. The young girls just shine and drink in the manners’ message too.

      I look forward to our next tea time together,Vonda.

      Speak on!

  3. 4-11-2012

    I will be taking your advice as I prepare for the upcoming women’s retreat on April 28th. Big step for me–three thirty minute sessions in one day! I think I need a week off to prepare!!


    • 4-11-2012


      Your presentations are always polished. I’ve seen you draw in your audience with personalized attention.

      Have a great time at the women’s retreat. You’ll fine those three sessions will go by quickly and easily because you are one who does practice with the audience in mind.

      Speak on!

  4. 4-11-2012

    I sure do miss you! I wish I had your stage presence and words!

    • 4-11-2012


      I miss you too. I’ve never had so much fun sharing our “sound off” joke. Being with you at the October conference was God’s special gift.

      Date on!

  5. 4-11-2012

    I say amen to all of the above!! I can already imagine how blessed every one will be as you mirror the reflection of Jesus. You are loved!

    • 4-11-2012


      I can imagine the fun you and I would have at a mother/daughter tea. You would be the outstanding encourager while I would be the detailed teacher.

      Uplifting blessings come at tea time.

      Speak on!

  6. 4-11-2012

    Thank you, Carolyn,
    Tomorrow I will speak to a high school chapel. I needed to read your tips and am bravely starting to move around a bit….love you!

    • 4-11-2012


      I’m glad the tiny tip helped you a bit.

      Your presentations that I’ve seen drew me that I’ve never noticed that you didn’t move much on stage. Now that’s a gifted speaker.

      Speak on!

  7. 4-12-2012

    Carolyn, thank you for this post. This is how I practice too. It did my heart good to know I’m emulating the pros 🙂 Sweet blessings to you!

    • 4-14-2012


      Fun comes when we think of our audience first.
      It’s good to hear that you practice like a pro, Nan.
      I’m looking forward to being part of your audience in the future.

      Speak on!

      • 4-15-2012

        Thank you Carolyn. I hope to meet you one day. If you are anything like Vonda, I know I will love you from the very first moment we meet 🙂

        • 4-17-2012


          Vonda and I are much alike in our love for the Lord. From there, we fulfill one anothers strengths and weaknesses. Vonda does a lot more filling than me.

          I’m praying the Lord makes away for you and I to meet soon, Nan.

          Serve on!

          • 4-17-2012

            Thank you. Me, too. Just a warning…I’m a hugger 🙂

  8. 4-29-2012

    Thank you, Carolyn. I agree 100% with you. I tried once to practice in front of a mirror and felt too distracted to stay there.

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