14 Feb Presenting traps to avoid – Trap no. 2 Being Disorganised

“One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.” A.A. Milne

There are lots of little traps that speakers and presenters can fall into when they lack experience.  A.A. Milne is right when he says disorganisation can produce surprising discoveries. But whilst the surprising discoveries can be interesting they can also mean we never get booked to deliver a business presentation again!

Something we often underestimate when we present in business is the amount of preparation and organisation that goes into delivering a successful speech.  A disorganised speaker is a speaker most people won’t want to work with.  So I thought I’d share some thoughts to help you fast track your speaking success!

It’s important to do what you can to have your presentation prepared and rehearsed well before you stand up to present to an audience and make sure you create a checklist of all the things you need to do in advance to ensure the presentation goes smoothly.

I was speaking at an event a few years ago at a conference.  There were a number of speakers presenting, one of whom was the Business Development Director of a major corporation.  He was the second speaker of the morning and he got up on the stage and (in an attempt to build rapport) told the audience about how he’d had a big night out on the town with his brother the night before and as a result he had a really bad hangover so ‘please bare with me’.  Later in the presentation it emerged that he hadn’t prepared his speech prior to turning up that day.  You can just imagine what the audience thought of this guy!  I can only imagine how many people cancelled business with that company as a result of the complete disrespect and arrogance of this guy.

Here’s a checklist of things to think about:

  • Has travel been organised?
  • Do you have a back-up copy of your presentation slides?
  • If you use notes, do you have a copy of your speech printed out?
  • Will you bring your laptop?
  • Is your version of the slides compatible with the laptop at the venue?
  • Will you need any other equipment like flip chart stands, paper, pens – will you bring them or ask the conference organiser to do that for you?
  • Do you need to bring your own slide changing remote?
  • Do you have your on microphone or will you be using the one that the venue provides?
  • What kind of microphone does the venue use?
  • Are you suitably dressed to accommodate their microphone? Do you need to wear a belt so they can clip the microphone on to your clothes?
  • Will you be taking any resources for sale?
  • Do you need order forms and credit card facilities or will you gift the resources to the audience?
  • Do you need someone there in case people want to buy your resources in droves?
  • Will you film the event?
  • Is the organiser filming the event and do you need to find out the colour of the backdrop to the stage and wear certain clothes (so the audience can see you clearly).
  • Where are you in the order of speakers and who else is speaking?
  • Do you need to organise refreshments or meals for yourself if you are speaking later in the day?
  • Have you sent through a layout of your preferred room set-up to the organiser to be sure the audience isn’t seated in straight, parallel lines (a curved, or U-shape is nicer for your audience)
  • Would you like some water placed on the stage? Who is going to put it on the lectern for you?
  • Have you rehearsed your presentation so you know you know it?

I’m sure these tips will help you so you to avoid some of the mistakes most business presenters make.  Anyone can be an exceptional presenter, it’s just a matter of knowing what to do and doing it!  Happy Presenting! Mx