Friday, December 10, 2004

Public Speaking Checklist

Public Speaking Preparation Checklist
Questions to ask the Meeting Coordinator:

  • What does the organizer want to accomplish because of my appearance?
  • Why was I chosen?
  • How many people are expected to be in the audience?
  • What are their job responsibilities?
  • What is the male/female ratio?
  • What time am I supposed to speak?
  • What is on the program just before I speak?
  • What is on the program just after I speak?
  • What is the conference title and theme?
  • Who will introduce me?
  • Who are the other speakers on the program?
  • What kind of seating is being used?
  • What kind of microphone and A/V equipment is available?
  • May I have a list of expected attendees so that I may interview some of them for a few minutes by phone in advance of the program? (this is probably the most powerful technique I know of to really connect with the audience when you speak. I always interview at least 15 audience members.)

Questions to ask the interviewees

  • With regard to the topic I am presenting on, what are the three biggest challenges you face in completing your daily duties? (then let them talk)
  • Do you have any interesting stories about things that have happened to you while you were working?

Questions to ask yourself

  • Considering all the answers I got from the phone interviews, what are the three (or five depending on how much time you have) greatest areas of concern for the attendees.
  • What material do I have that can specifically address those concerns?
  • What stories do I have that will help them remember my points?
  • What visuals will I use?
  • What props will I use?
  • What should I include in the written introduction that I prepare for my introducer that will be appropriate for this audience.
  • How will I open the presentation?
  • How long will I go before I have a break?
  • What forms of audience interaction will I use?
  • In what form, and how much humor will I use?
  • Will I provide a handout, and if so, what should it include?
  • What will I do and say in case of an emergency (running out of the room screaming is not an option here)?
  • Should I have a Question & Answer session, or should I entertain questions as they come up?
  • How will I close the presentation?
  • How much and when will I practice this presentation?
  • How will I stay calm before the presentation?

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