You can sometimes find yourself on a speaking agenda without warning! But in most cases–even in the most demanding of roles–you will receive a request to present. And you should be prepared to get some answers to the questions to ask before a presentation.
Who wants you to give a presentation?
You might know the person asking you to present. But equally they might have contacted you through a third party. It makes sense to put the contact into context and establish who they work for, whether they are independent or who they represent.
What are their contact details?
You should confirm the best contact details. Check whether their phone number has changed or whether email is preferred. Contact details are, of course, reciprocal.
What is the planned presenting event?
Establish what event is being planned. Is it a sales conference or an annual Association meeting? Is it a meeting of technical partners or a product launch? Knowing some simple details of the event helps you prepare.
When and where is the planned event?
You must know where the event is. If the event is local that might make it easier to participate. If the event involves travel it might be possible to combine your participation with some other activity.
How many presenters will be involved?
It’s rare for any speaker to be the sole presenter on the podium. In most instances you will share the platform with several speakers with a budgeted time allowance of some 45 minutes. Perhaps longer.
What is the theme of the event?
Using a theme such as, “Being Best”, allows a range of speakers to explore all the essential attributes of customer care, quality management, production quality or people management.
What sort of presentation is expected?
This has to be asked. For instance there might be an expectation that you will make a presentation and then answer questions later. All require different preparation.
Why am I being asked to present?
If the event is planned for next week you might already suspect the answer! If you are being asked to present because you are a respected expert in your field then it’s very likely that your presentation subject is going to be crafted along the same lines.
Can I use multimedia and will the event be broadcast?
We take it for granted that every speaking event supports multimedia content–but it must be checked.
Can I call you back to confirm?
You will need to check your schedule. Or you might need to check with your partner. Once you have agreed a timeline in which to call–then call back. You can pick up other presentation skills tips and techniques on a PresentPerfectTM presentation skills training course.
“If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.”