If you are asked to speak…please say NO!

Speaking for a local club, organization, or business can be an honor. Most folks are flattered to receive an invitation. If you get one, please say No! Unless, of course, you are willing to put in the time, effort, and money that it will take to do a good job. If you say Yes, please consider the following.

  1. Make sure you know what they want. What is the topic? How much time are you given to speak? How big is the room? How many people will attend? Do they expect you to use a computer and projector? Ask these questions before you say yes…or no.
  2. Are you an expert on the subject matter? If you are not, don’t try to learn enough the night before. The audience will sense it.
  3. Narrow down what you want to say. Telling the audience everything you know is not what they want. In most cases, “they” want to be entertained as much as they want to hear your pearls of wisdom.
  4. Plan your talk. Make an outline. Edit the outline.
  5. Practice what you will say…the whole thing. Record it if possible.
  6. Do not use PowerPoint if you don’t know how to use it. Speakers look like dopes if they can’t turn on the computer or projector.
  7. If you do use PowerPoint (or Keynote) do not read the slides! Slides with as few words as possible are best. Pictures are better than words.
  8. Give out handouts when you finish. Your handouts can summarize what you want them to remember. Do not give copies of your slides.
  9. Get help. Join a local Toastmasters Club.
  10. Before you say Yes…make sure you are willing to take the time that is necessary to do a good job.

Good luck.

[Need help? You can send your questions to Joel Heffner. Use the contact form to get int touch.]