Critical Public Speaking Pre-preparation

Dale A. Simmons asked:

Our continuing series of “So You Want To Become a Public Speaker”; we will look at Public Speaking Pre-Preparation. How many seminars have you gone to and paid good money to participate to find the speaker reading from cards, or reading from an overhead presentation? And let us not forget the “and, ums, ah’s”.

I went to a seminar once and it was so bad that I found myself counting how many “and’s and um’s” were being stated. I really cannot remember what the subject was. I found myself viewing the seminar participants sleeping, writing, day dreaming and so on. Have you ever been to one of those? There are really only two major causes for this type of poor performance.

1. Just there to get paid

That is to me the most disgusting reason of all. If you’re just there to get paid and not passionate about your speaking career GET OUT! People pay good money for seminars and expect to hear a good presenter with good information. Nuf said!

2. Bad preparation

Pre-Preparation is critical to your delivering a good presentation. In Public Speaking the pre-preparation, or lack of, will be noticed by your audience.

So, we are going to address pre seminar preparation.

So now you have the subject matter for your next seminar. You know the venue and the time allotted for your presentation. What else do you need to know?

Elements of Pre Prep

Know your audience; – their age group, gender, ethnicity, education, income level. You may ask yourself, “Why do I need to know all that information?”

The more your presentation is geared towards your audience the more impact and success you will have in its delivery and the less chance of a blunder. Example; There was a speech given by a government official where a question was raised on how the presenter thought about a specific person. Me personally, I felt the response was well stated, but was offensive to some with regard to “he is articulate” and was taken as a racial thing. There was rhubarb about that whole thing.

In this new politically correct (PC) world one must be careful of the words used. Unless you are a well known controversial speaker, one must address this issue in your pre-prep.

Can you see the value of knowing your audience before presenting?

To find out audience information, contact the seminar planner, they would have a good idea of your audience.

Speech Preparation – Okay you have your subject, now what? Organizing your speech is one of the most important skills to learn. Good organization is often the key to understanding. The audience is more likely to understand your message if it is well organized.

Write out your speech. Writing for public speaking isn’t so different from other types of writing. You want to hold your audience’s attention, communicate your ideas in a logical manner and use reliable evidence to support your point.

When you write a speech understand your audience is made up of listeners. They have only one chance to comprehend what you’re presenting. Your speech must be well-organized and easily understood, and your delivery must fit the audience. Again with the audience!

Practice, Practice, Practice! – In my eyes this is the most important part of public speaking! To put this in straight talk, “you need to nail this!” “You only have one shot. You blow it here and you’re all done.” I’m not joking!

If this is a new subject for you need to start practicing this presentation 1 week before show time! Your reputation is riding on every presentation you present regardless of the public speaking venue. Ask a friend over to help, it may cost you’re a dinner or beer, present it and ask for honest feedback.

You really don’t want to read off cue cards or read off you Power Point presentation. Your audience can read the onscreen presentation. It does not hurt to glance up if you loose your place. But again if you practiced this presentation enough you shouldn’t have to.

Equipment Requirements – Understand your venue. Seating capacity, number of expected participants, size of room and acoustics play a huge roll on your planned delivery. Also find out about existing sound equipment, projectors, screens and lighting.

Once you have gathered all this information you can start your pre-prep for equipment needed like wireless microphone systems and adaptability to existing sound equipment, USB presentation projector, laptop, extra batteries, extra bulb, USB flash drive (backup for your presentation), and screen.

There is nothing worst than getting to your public speaking venue and you don’t have the correct equipment for your presentation. Backup, back-up backup! Basically be prepared for the worst!

Pre-preparation is critical to your public speaking career. Know your audience, write out your speech in a logical manner, practice, practice, practice and then practice some more. Understand your venue and have the required equipment there to present your best presentation ever!

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