5 Must-Dos Before Speaking From Stage

It was the biggest keynote I’d delivered all year.  

An audience of 550 hungry business owners in Crown’s Palladium Ballroom – one of Melbourne’s most prestigious conference venues.

They’d come to hear me share my marketing wisdom to help grow their business. And I wanted to leave them feeling inspired and motivated to do great things.

I’d arrived two-hours early to do my set-up, to ensure everything was working as it should. But, with 30-seconds to go, as the emcee introduced me, my slides weren’t projecting – the technology had failed. And I was about to as well, or was I?

I certainly was not! I’ll tell you what happened shortly, but first, let me give you five public speaking tips every speaker must do prior to walking up on that stage:

  1. Clearly detail your AV requirements: Upon being booked, email your AV requirements to the organiser. Here’s my list of AV requirements. And ask them to confirm that they’ve received them, and are 100% OK with them. That they’re doable.
  2. Ensure plenty of set-up / rehearsal time: Go as far as setting a time to meet with the AV person, where you’ll run through your slide deck on the screen (every slide, not just the first few).
  3. Do a sound check: If you’re using a lapel mic, put it on and walk the room. If you feel awkward speaking, then just do a “10, 9, 8, 7 …” Speak in to the lectern mic if you’re using that. If you have embedded video, then check the levels.
  4. Walk the stage: I’ve walked some dodgy stages in my time. Real old rattlers. Find out where the weak points are, the squeaks and rattles, then you know where to avoid.
  5. Walk the room: This is a bit woo-woo, but I like to walk the entire room, that way I feel as though I’ve been there before and I feel connected. Taking this to the nth degree, means touching each chair as you walk past. I told you it was a bit woo-woo!

There’s plenty more things you must do before speaking from stage. I plan to cover them in future posts, or if the demand is there, I’ll go ahead and dedicate an entire episode on it as part of The Small Business Big Marketing Show. Let me know in the comments section below if that’s what you’d like.

Oh, and did I fail? Are you kidding?! With 25-seconds to go I asked the organiser (who was close to meltdown by this stage) to have three cordless mics positioned around the room, and I’d facilitate a Q&A session. It worked a treat.

It’s always good to have a Plan B … and C!

Have you had a bad public speaking experience? What was it and how did you overcome it? Or didn’t you?

4 thoughts on “5 Must-Dos Before Speaking From Stage”

  1. More of this please. Maybe not an episode, but a webinar?

    Love this story, but want to hear more on this. I really only have one keynote experience, and the AV turned out to bea total crap show when I got there. People could not see my slides as it was too small, and too dim.

    Love the Plan C! Who thinks of that?

  2. Great tips Timbo – Being able to adapt to whatever situation you are in is key. I had organised a “technotogy” seminar in a rural town a number of years ago We had a thunderstorm the night before. Got to the venue first thing in the morning to find that the entire town had no power – lightning had taken out the main transformer. Hmmm technology seminar with no power – that was challenging. Managed to rearrange the speakers with the ones not depending on it speaking first, power came on a lunch time and day complete 🙂 Not sure what my plan C would have been!

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