Monday, May 12, 2014

What to do before your speech

I used to do a good bit of after dinner speaking to advertisers in the magazine where I was an editor. My practice was to show up at the site a full hour before the dinner was to begin.

You just never know.

Once I arrive at this outdoor restaurant on the beach on one of the islands. The tables where the audience would sit were on one side. Off on the other side, behind some potted palms, was the podium.

"You'll have to move it over here," I said, wondering why I would even have to say it.

"But the microphone won't reach," the person in charge said.

"In one hour it will reach," I said.

This is one of the rules Jacquelyn Smith advises in Business Insider.
Check out the meeting room and audiovisual set-up. As the speaker, be sure you know the environment, including the seating arrangement, presentation electronics, microphone, and lighting. Get to the room early and ensure you're comfortable with the set-up.
I don't know how many times I've shown up to hear a presentation only to watch the presenter struggle with his projector or laptop or microphone or notes. Can't these people show up a few minutes early to see if it all works. Really, people.

Here are few suggestions.
  • Use the restroom.
  • Meet and greet the audience before you speak.
  • Take several deep belly breaths.
  • Practice the first minute in your mind.
Before you start, stand at the podium. Look at the audience. Let them see you. Get used to what it feels like. And make sure the podium is where it should be. Sheesh.

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