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Public Speaking

So You’ve Received an Invitation to Speak. Accept or Decline?


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Don’t accept any speaking invitation before you think through the consequences. It takes a lot of time to prepare a good speech or presentation.

How MuchTime?

  • time to learn about the audience (Will prospective clients be in the room?)
  • time to create a theme for your presentation
  • time to organize your notes
  • time to write (and rewrite) your remarks
  • time to produce the audio-visual aids
  • time to proof any PowerPoint
  • time to prepare supplemental materials (For example: If you’re a financial advisor, your 10 minute formal presentation might be less important than the targeted materials you prepare to give to the attendees.)
  • time to rehearse
  • time to travel to and from the event
  • time to appear at the engagement itself (Will you be expected to attend lunch? Must you wait for photographs?)
  • time to network
  • time to follow up appropriately (The day after you present, email the key participants. Offer to answer any additional questions they might have. Send links that might be helpful. Ask them to connect via LinkedIn. If it was worth your while to go make the presentation, then it’s important to follow up.)

How can you judge if it’s worth your time to give a particular presentation? Ask yourself: “Will this specific audience (whether 1 or 101) produce a significant return on my speaking investment?” If not, delay speaking with this group until another time – or decline the invitation completely.

Every presentation should produce an ROI. Make your presentation reward you for the time you invested.


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