Throughout the years, many of our clients have requested our support to prepare them for speaking engagements. Whether they were invited to be guest speakers for an organization’s luncheon, industry event, or just speaking at their own client gathering, our goal has always been to make their experience a memorable and effective one.
Aside from training our clients on how best articulate and convey key messages, giving them the dos and don’ts of public speaking, and what to avoid during a presentation, we also exhort them to follow these five important recommendations to ensure their success:
Know Your Audience
Research and learn as much as you can about the organization or event at which you have been invited to speak and the type of audience you will address. If you get to your venue well before your speaking gig, invest some time talking to members and organizers to get information, insights and testimonials about the organization and the event itself. When you step up to the podium, this little investment will pay handsome dividends, as it will enable you to bring up ad-hoc examples and/or anecdotes that will resonate and engage your audience.
Rules of Engagement
Learn well ahead of time what are the rules and norms for speakers. Are you expected or allowed to use visuals and/or distribute handouts? How much time will you have for your presentation? Will that include time for Q&A? Will the organizer be willing to share a copy of the attendees’ list with their contact information?
Practice Your Technology Skills
At home or at your office, practice connecting cable computers, opening and closing flash drives, and pulling up PowerPoint files on your computer screen. Time it, so that you will know how long it will take you to set up your visuals in the unfortunate event that an IT person will not be at hand at the time of your presentation. In addition, make sure to save your presentation on a flash drive and/or a hard disk and have a couple of print copies, just in case the computer and/or projector decide to fail on you.
If the organizers allow 60 minutes for your presentation, plan for less time. Frequently, events run into delays and often only a few minutes before stepping up to the podium speakers are informed that their presentation time will be reduced. So, be prepared to give a shorter presentation. This will avoid the pressure of having to fly through the presentation’s original format.
Give Yourself Extra Time
Traveling by air, train or car has become a gamble, especially around big cities. Allow yourself extra time when you book flights, train rides or drive to your destination. Contact the organizers to find out traveling time from the airport/train station where you will arrive. Also, ask them about the exact location of garages/parking lots and how far they are from the venue of your presentation. If your destination is a conference center, be sure to identify the closest entrance to your room/auditorium—in large conference centers, it takes several minutes to walk from one end to the other. Also, and this may sound “old school,” but if you drive, print the directions and do not blindly rely on your GPS, especially if it is the first time you go to that particular location.
As always, questions and comments are welcome.
i-Impact Group Inc.