I received a invitation to speak at an IT event recently. When I enquired about the speaker fee, I was informed that there would be no fee, rather I would be speaking to over 50 people, who were future potential clients (through them or through people they know). Having made a decision a number of years ago to cease providing fee speaking engagements but before saying no, I thought about it. I hadn’t delivered a speech like this in a while, so I felt it would be good to do it and push out my comfort zone again i.e. back to where it was, so I said yes.
Knowing some people in the audience i.e. former attendees at previous training courses and some private clients, I felt that this had to be delivered well. And with no fee involved, I had to impress the audience so as to secure some form of follow up enquiries (at least).
The speech title that I was requested to deliver upon could have been done off the cuff, as I knew it so well, however, I decided to prepare as much as possible. I put my structure and content on paper first, chose a speaking medium and then set out times in my day to practice and polish the delivery, to the point where I was looking forward to it, with anxiousness reducing and confidence increasing.
When the evening arrived, I was the second speaker, choosing second to compare myself to the first speaker and then adjust my delivery accordingly, if needed and if appropriate. The first speaker used a microphone and PowerPoint, where I didn’t on both counts. I focused on saying every letter in every word, pausing for effect and adding the music to my voice.
I was happy with my performance, as were the audience based on feedback and I have since received five enquiries.
Moral of the story, as in the title – Prepare, Prepare, Prepare…