I hope you are enjoying my blog series on getting and mastering speaking opportunities! Make sure to check out the rest of my blog if you’ve missed any of the posts.
This week’s blog is all about effective preparation for a speaking opportunity, and where to start so that you get on the right planning track right from the beginning.
Planning and Preparation are key aspects to a presentation. Some people are gifted at giving impromptu presentations, but many people that give “impromptu” presentations have actually prepared, at the very least mentally, to give that presentation. And often they have done a masterful job at appearing so comfortable and at ease to have the audience assume that it’s impromptu or that they are just a “natural.”
One of my speaking mentors, Joel Wheldon, who is in the Speakers Hall of Fame, says he spends 50 hours prepping for each speaking opportunity. He commands a big keynote speaking fee to make it worth that much effort, but it is pretty amazing when you think of that. Joel has been teaching and mentoring speakers for 40 years. You’d think he’s just a natural, but it’s clear that his mastery is a result of great preparation.
These days, I spend about 10 hours creating new presentations and about 10 hours practicing, including doing a dry run and getting feedback on it from my coach or peer coaches for my free presentations (I used to spend less time but my presentations are much more powerful now!) When I had a paid gig for the US Cycling Association last November, however, I definitely put more effort into it because the stakes were much higher.
As Stephen Covey said, always begin with the end in mind. Proper planning and preparation will help you create the “movie in your mind” for this presentation, as well as help you build confidence in the content, materials, delivery and yourself.
The first step I recommend is doing a Purpose/Outcome Plan for each presentation (as well as every meeting you facilitate). If you cannot complete this simple exercise, you are not mentally prepared to put together a presentation. The questions in the following Purpose/Outcome Plan will set the foundation for your presentation and insure you are hitting the essential elements of a presentation.
- The Purpose and Objective of my presentation/meeting is:
- The audience for my presentation/meeting is: (backgrounds, skill set, understanding of the topic being covered)
- What information, if any, should I send to my audience in advance of the presentation/meeting?
- What information, if any, should I bring to the presentation/meeting to supplement my presentation?
- What Key Concepts do I need to cover in my presentation/meeting?
- What do I want the participants to go away with?
- What outcome do I expect as a result of a successful presentation/meeting?
- What space, set-up and AV requirements will I have for my presentation/meeting?
As always, I’d love to hear any comments, questions or feedback!