Tips on Public Speaking: How to Prepare for Your Speaking Event

Although my first public speaking event is over five months away, I don’t want to make preparations at the last minute. In order to be ready to speak to the Southern Illinois Writers Guild in September, I’m already preparing, and I’d like to share my first step of preparation with you. This step involves asking questions, so in order to prepare for your speaking event, you should ask questions immediately after being invited. The questions I asked, will help me decide on a topic, what handouts I need to create, what freebies I can giveaway that relates to the topic and much more. Here’s an example of some of the questions I asked. Feel free to make a note of them and ask them the next time you’re invited to speak to a group. I think these are some great questions, and I’ll explain why as I share my list.

Tips on Public Speaking — Great Questions to Help You Prepare

1. Which topic do you think the group would most enjoy hearing about: (insert a couple topics you have in mind) or something else? Your suggestions are welcome. In fact, feel free to discuss this with the group and let me know what the majority would enjoy hearing about. Maybe there’s something they have in mind that most of your guest speakers haven’t discussed. Then if it’s a topic that I have expertise in, I’d be glad to discuss it.

This question allows you to prepare a speech that you know the majority of the group you’ll be speaking to wants to hear about. It will also allow you to prepare your free handouts and decide on giveaways related to your topic (if you plan to give away freebies). Speaking of giveaways, in my next post I’ll list some giveaway ideas related to topics that you might discuss at your next speaking event, so stay tuned or subscribe to my RSS feed or via e-mail to be notified once this post is live.

2. Could I bring another guest along to take pictures? I would use the pictures in my media kits, brochures and post them on my website and blog, of course.

As the question states, pictures are great to use in your promotional materials, on your website and to share with your blog readers when you let them know how your speaking event went. By asking this question, you’ll also let the event organizer know where the photos will be used.

3. Will the speech be taped? If so, could I get a copy?

Many authors and writers like to have their speaking events taped so they can share them on YouTube and with others. If the organizer tells you the event will be taped and you can get a copy, make sure to ask permission to share the video on the Internet.

4. Could a table be set up at the back of the room so I can sell copies of book(s)?

If you’ve published any books, this is an opportunity to gain additional sales. Most places will allow their guest speakers to sell copies of their book(s), so it shouldn’t be a problem, but you’ll want to check first. Then if they give you the go-ahead, you’ll know that you need to have copies of your book on hand.

5.Approximately how many usually attend when a guest is scheduled to speak?

The organizer’s answer to this question will help you decide how many handouts, gifts and copies of your book you’ll need to purchase. Be sure to invest in extras just in case the turnout is bigger than usual.

6. Would you need me there early to get set up? If so, how early would you like for me to arrive?

Some places like their guest speakers to arrive a little early so they can help them set up.

7. What kind of promotion do you do for your guest speakers (e.g., press releases, newsletter announcements, etc.)?

This question will help you with your own marketing plans. You can also let the organizer know some of your plans and offer to share your list of media contacts so the two of you don’t contact the same newspapers, publications and etc..

What questions do you ask to prepare for your speaking events? Feel free to share your questions and/or tips on public speaking in the comments area.

Photo by: Brad Harrison

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