I speak several times a year for business groups and entrepreneurial organizations. One of the things that set a professional apart from an amateur is how they prepare for the presentation. I have a few steps that I take every time I am asked to talk in front of a crowd:

  • I always know my subject! Since I own a virtual accounting firm, I speak on accounting and entrepreneurial skills.
  • Since I’m so system-driven you probably expect this: be sure to have a form that’s an information trap. Keep a fillable form with all the information you’ll need about the event like the venue, room name, contact person, their cell phone number, etc. If you print that on a large envelope, you can put your plane ticket, hotel confirmation, and receipts envelope in it.
  • Know the audience and tailor your message specifically to them. Even if I am asked to speak on the subject of productivity, I need to know to whom I am speaking. What are the buzz words for their industry? How does my topic match up with their corporate culture? What is the event theme? The more of these things you can incorporate into your presentation, the more the audience will receive your intended message.
  • Ask event planners and leaders what they’d want to hear on your topic. Making the topic relevant is the best way to connect with your audience.
  • Check your speech to make certain your facts and figures are accurate,
  • Practice makes perfect, preferably in front of a mirror or your video camera. There is no such this as too much practice!
  • Save time for questions and answers. Audience participation is the best! It lets you know you’ve raised questions and that they want to know more from you!

What do you do to prepare for a speech? Do you have specific steps that you take? I’d love to hear!

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