The rehearsal requires everyone who has a role on the day of action, present. You will need folks to role-play the people who are not part of the team, but speaking on the day, e.g. a politician.

Keep to time

Go through the script and time it. What you have on paper and how you say it out loud are two different things. If you go over time on the day, you are cutting out others. People who have been rehearsing for weeks and are sweating buckets. Respect them.

Is there opportunities for the room to participate?

Check the script is offering lots of meaningful participation. Too many actions are led from the front of the room, by a few speakers who talk at people. People will switch off and not come back. Can you start with getting everyone to have a short 1-to-1 buzz with the person next to them, or be involved in a workshop? Can they ask questions, be involved in an action or tell a story?

What must be presented from the front, avoid death by powerpoint and keep slides to a minimum. Every word being spoken must be necessary. Get to the point and inject as many opportunities as possible for people to participate with you.

Are we representative?

Check who is speaking. Are we as diverse as we should be? This is your last chance to make those changes. Who is saying what? Why have they been chosen for that role? We want people at the centre of the issue leading. Our actions should demonstrate the world as it should be: just.


It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding of it.
Upton Sinclair

Role-play all the responses you could receive from your target. Research what have they said before on those issues. Anything said before will likely be said again. We can always prepare our response. You are looking for yes or no answers to your asks: do not allow gobbledegunk to slide here. You want clarity.

For example: “Will you commit to 100 jobs for local people by the end of the year?”

The gobbledegunk answer could be “we hope to be more ambitious”.

Do not take that as a yes. That is a nothing. The pinner could say “it is great you want to be more ambitious. Can I clarify you will commit to 100 jobs as a minimum by the end of the year”.

They give you another gobbledegook response: “we hope to be more ambitious”. You would then say, “can you respond with a yes or no”.

The target is in a position where they must respond. If they refuse to give a yes or no answer, it is a no for now, and you should have an action plan for this response.

Have the rehearsal where you are running the action

Practicing in the venue makes a huge difference. People get confident in their surroundings, they can work out any possible problems in terms of sound and stage. If you are being invited into a space, get there early to get a sense of the room.

Check the sound

There are too many actions I have been to where no-one checked the sound and it was just awful. It makes my face do this:

Red blob with squinting face

Make sure all sound is clear and loud in advance. Have a back up sound system if possible, and a mega-phone or two just in case.

Rehearse with microphones

I have been to too many actions and seen this happen:

A series of people holding mics in ridiculous ways - based on a true story friends

People assume we know how to use a microphone. Now, you may have had a big singing career way back when, but most people have not used one. Allow people to succeed on the day, by becoming familiar with the tool that allows everyone in the room to hear them.

Props and last-minute bits

When you go through the script there may be a moment where you give the politician or community leader flowers. You have been running around like a mad bumble-bee and have forgotten about that small to-do. On the day this could make you look a little silly, or much worse. Someone may think you did this to get a cheap laugh. Go through all the props, gifts, banners, blue tac etc. and have them in a box the day before.