Guerrilla Tactic Prespeech Checklist

Gather the following intelligence before your speech:

What are the deadlines for submitting a summary or draft of your speech, photos, and other materials?

Who is to be your main contact person leading up to your speech?

What are the audience demographics?

What is the theme(s) of the event?

What are the key issues facing the host organization?

Who spoke and who attended in the past?

Who else is on the program and who will present before and after you?

When will you appear on the program?

How long are you expected to speak?

Can you invite guests and how many?

What will be your compensation—pay, access to the event, guest passes, hotel and airfare, master copies of audio and videotapes of your presentation?

Who will own the rights to play and reproduce recordings or derivative works?

What items, if any, will you be permitted to sell at the event?

highly effective and flattering to those speakers and can forge supportive relationships. On the other hand, you don't want to be repetitious. Speech titles can be deceiving so find out as much as you can, preferably directly from your fellow presenters.

Spread the Word

Publicize your appearance by alerting your clients, inviting peers, potential clients, and the media. Request passes for your guests from the event sponsors. Highlight your speech on your Web site and in your zine. Publish excerpts of your presentation or place announcements in other publications.

Many events run for several days. Plan your schedule so you can spend time at the event, not just to deliver your speech, but to participate in other activities.

Testing, Testing

Check out the room where you'll speak. Tfest all the equipment: lights, microphones, speakers, and projectors. Consult with the event staff and decide where to place handouts, article reprints, copies of your books, and other material. Explain to staff members how they can help. Speakers can be a pain for event planners. Don't be—be a pleasure to work with.

Check Out the Event

Attend as much of the event as you can: the host organization's receptions, dinners, exhibits, and other presentations. Find out what issues concern attendees, your peers, and the other speakers. Ask their opinions and discuss possible solutions. Listen and learn. Network, network, network.

Mingle before You Speak

In whatever time you have just before your presentation, be visible and meet people. Give them the chance to ask you questions and engage you in discussion. Make it a point to talk to event staff, especially those who coordinated the publicity. Staff can be extremely helpful, so treat them well.

It can be difficult to focus on getting to know people when you're mentally getting ready to speak, especially if you're not good at small talk. But it will pay dividends in the long run. You might even be able to mine bits you can use to personalize your speech. And being able to spot friendly faces in a roomful of strangers can ease your nerves.

Deliver a Great Presentation

Finally, the time has come to get up there and speak. This is when your research, planning, and rehearsal will pay off. If you have confidence in your content and know it well, you will be able to relax and enjoy your time in the spotlight.

Make eye contact with your audience. Don't rush. Gesture and move naturally. Pause silently when you need to, but avoid awkward, overly dramatic, or insincere movements or vocal inflections. Listen to and read nonverbal cues from the audience. Involve your listeners in your presentation.

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