Prepare, Prepare, Prepare,
Paltry preparation produces pitiful performance. We have all heard a number of variations of this common saying and still so many people leave their presentation preparation to the last moment. Speaking in public is no different than anything else, if you want to do it well it is imperative to prepare well and early.
I’ve been very lucky to have chatted with quite a number of top professional speakers and world champion speakers. They tell me a common theme is to always be ready. Have your material prepared well in advance of any possible – Oh “can you just say a few words?”
I know – that’s so easy to say, they are professionals and paid to be ready, and I got a job. When you say yes to giving a speech you are saying yes to all the people in your audience that you are prepared to deliver what they expect in the way they expect it or better.
And… even if you are ready to disappoint them, are you ready to disappoint yourself? I certainly wouldn’t be.
OKay Smart Alec.. What Do I Need To Prepare?
Being a professional means being prepared and it shows to those around you especially those paying your fee. Even though you may not use all the points below be aware of those you do need and create your own checklist. You may have others you specifically need to add. Please comment below so we can help each other in future.
Get the details, decide how you are to get there, public transport? The time it takes, car? What about parking as well as time? Plane even more details getting to the airport, tickets. Who is paying?
Again timing and parking. How are you getting to the venue once landed, is there accommodation & who’s paying? You need to eat, have you any special dietary needs? What arrangements are made?
Is there a contract or agreement to be filled out and signed? Are there certain requirements needed before completion ( Insurance details)? Are you requiring certain conditions? What are the terms of payment?
What is your position on the agenda and level of Importance? How much time are you required to speak for?
Do you have a signature uniform/outfit? Is it okay to wear, What are the dress requirements? How do you look? Haircut, jewellery, outfit and all other aspects of your appearance need to be right,
Prepare your own introduction
Always have a prepared introduction that is relevant to your topic, the audience, the area, the event. Never, Never, Never let others prepare this information it is so crucial for you to make sure you lead the audience into your talk and you.
Often they ask for a bio for the event program, again make this specific to the audience, the event, you and your future bookings and further subjects you can be booked for.
Both these items are very valuable marketing documents to promote you and your business.
Give them extra material in the form of an infomercial ( a human story, a case study, contact information, a special offer just for them) for the programme as well, often they are looking for material to fill the booklet. Better you than someone else.
Let the event organisers know you will be available before and after the event to answer questions. Make yourself available for some extra activity if needed, they will be impressed and may not use you but will remember how accommodating you were.
Prepare your research
Generally, you know your topic so how does that relate to your audience? Who can answer your questions?
Can you have the names of several attendees so you can ask questions?
What are the demographics, age, interests, sex, religion, commonalities, income – whatever is relevant to your topic and your future topics.
Discover the current trends with that group? what is the latest news,? what is the local jargon?
What is a delicate issue to avoid or any other areas to avoid?
Prepare your material
Do I have to say it again? Your Purpose is the focal point, the starting point of your presentation, if you haven’t looked at that, go there right now and discover speech purpose then come back here to continue
It doesn’t matter if you have a bookshelf full of relevant stories or a single story to tell over and over, you must be fresh and you can only be fresh if you are continually finding new ideas, finding new innovation, continually learning how to be better at what you do.
When we don’t reinvent ourselves each time, we are standing still and since the world continues to move and change, standing still means we are going backwards. The best way to know what you have done so you can improve is to record yourself every time you give a presentation.
Prepare your purpose
> focus on your ideas > eliminate anything that doesn’t fit> tweak the material you are going to talk about. If and a big IF you decide to have slides to complement your delivery then you can decide on the graphics that support what you have to say. Have a few blank slides so their attention is drawn back to your presentation.
If you are in a situation where you need to have data to prove your arguments or persuasions then you will need to produce a complimentary set of documents to support your findings. Always give the handouts at the end of your delivery, you don’t want people ( particularly the analytical ones) trying to prove you wrong with your own data whilst you are delivering your talk and competing for their attention.
Deal with the elephant in the room – there will be those with objections or arguments in the room and the best way is to have analysed your information and predict their objections. Deal with these your way within your talk offering your solid reasonings before they can object.
Prepare your venue
Sometimes you are organising the event yourself for yourself. Please get an event organiser.
Still, you will need to know the rudimentariness. bookings and the contract, access, exits, facilities, first aid, lighting, heating and cooling, seating, catering, available equipment, owners preferences.
Most times you will be the guest so it is a little easier however you will still need to have early access to understand and know the operations of most of the above.
- As well as noise levels from outside, distractions from outside, change room, storage of your gear, area for your product sales, use of equipment (a/v, whiteboard, butchers paper and easel), regulations for incident management and familiarity of speaking area and layout.
It is the big day. You have your presentation ready and everything is organised, you are looking smart and you are feeling ‘Hot’.
You arrive at the venue early. Giving you time to double check your sound settings on the mic to make sure you are heard by everyone. Plus test your material on the computer and the projector to make sure all is still working.
Have your computer plugged into the power. Check your back up slideshow just in case.
With video, recordings make sure the camera can see you in all the areas you will be speaking. Determine how you can get a copy for your analysis and promotion.
When no recordings, set up your phone with an audio recorder so you have a recording of your talk. You cannot measure and improve if you can’t go through every word and gesture you gave.
Workout the speaking area while visualising your powerful popular successful presentation
Are you selling a product? Have you explicit permission to sell?
What are their arrangements? Can you bluntly sell from the stage or are you expected to subtly make an offer at the end of your talk directing your audience to the sales table at the back of the room? Tell them the price.
- You have finished another successful presentation and have that wonderful feeling of relief mellowing through your body.
- But you haven’t finished yet, time to be gracious press the flesh, shaking hands with your audience, accepting compliments with grace listening for a possible hint of a future booking opportunity.
Proper Prior Preparation Produces Powerful Presentations. Typical of all items you undertake if you are prepared to dig in and discover, you will find a world of workings to learn and use to help you become a better professional.
Steve Jobs of Apple fame was an amazing presenter who was constantly preparing and being ready for a presentation. To be the best we can be is up to us. Never has there been a better time with so many resources available.
For more information or Courses check out – Speech Master Academy
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