Last week I was invited to speak at the Puget Sound Business Journal. Since I was paid to speak on their behalf for 4 years, it was just like going home. Except this time, the content was mine (or lovingly borrowed from others), I didn’t get paid and didn’t have to answer to anyone. It was kind of awesome.
I forgot how much I enjoy speaking to groups of people who just need someone to tell them they’re on the right track. Or they can stop doing what they hate, or they really SHOULD be following up on those leads because it’s free money waiting to happen (seriously, do you know how much money I have NOT given people???)
I received a follow up note from an attendee who is looking to do more public speaking and she made a couple of comments that I thought were worth noting.
1. I Don’t use PowerPoint. I do this for a couple reasons. The real reason is that I don’t want to BUILD the presentation! However, I also don’t do this because when I start the presentation I ask people what they are hoping to learn today. If I need to pivot my presentation I’m not held hostage by the PowerPoint, I can make those changes.
2. I had 5 points and 90 minutes. It FLEW by! I was sure I was going to run short and have a long Q&A time, but I had just the right amount of time, we started right at 11:30, and ended right at 1 PM. Be respectful of peoples time. If you run 30 minutes past the time you said you’d finish, how can I expect you to finish the project I hire you for on time?
3. One Handout, Five talking points. Don’t over think the handouts. I actually wasn’t planning to have a handout till I talked to someone a couple days before. I do like a good outline so I can follow along, and I decided it was a good idea for this group too. They all seemed to appreciate it.
If you want to do more public speaking, stop stressing so hard about it. Just get started. Tell your network you want to do it and do it. If you have 20 minutes, practice, and make sure it’s only 20 minutes of content. Have an hour and a half? Make sure to get the audience engaged and interacting so they don’t fall asleep on you or start playing Words with Friends. Just get GOING!