How to Be A Great Guest Speaker, Part 2
Get 5 more tips to make sure you aren’t that guest speaker who is remembered for all the wrong reasons.
This is a continuation from last week’s article on how to be a great guest speaker and is the second part of a three part series. If you haven’t already read or listened to part one, it might be a good idea to do that first.
The podcast edition of this tip was sponsored by Go To Meeting. Save time and money by hosting your meetings online. Visit GoToMeeting.com/podcast and sign up for a free 45 day trial of their web conferencing solution.
Recap: How to be a Great Guest Speaker (Part 2)
Last week I discussed four important tips for being a good guest speaker and today I’ll pick back up with tip number five. Just to quickly recap, the first four tips were:
Learning as much as you can about the organization and event,
Communicating you’re A/V needs as soon as possible, and
Being sure to allow extra travel time.
Guest Speaking Tip #5: Put Emergency Contact Number In Your Phone
The next step for being a good guest speaker is to get the cell phone number of a contact who will be available at any time to take a phone call from you. Just in case something goes wrong, you’ll have someone to contact. Put that number into your cell phone--not on your computer. Confirm all the final details with your contact before the day of the presentation, including details about the parking lot, building, room, floor, start time, and end time.
One time I accidentally put the cell phone number of an audience member into my phone instead of the event contact’s number. So at 6AM when I thought I was calling the 24-hour on-call contact, I accidentally called this audience member! He was so kind. He helped me with my problem and didn’t tell me that I had the wrong person until AFTER the presentation. I was so embarrassed!
Guest Speaking Tip #6: Plan for Having More or Less Time
Next, plan your presentation so that you can expand it or contract it as needed. Even though you may have been told you have 45 minutes, you may discover that another portion of the meeting has run long, and you end up with just 30 minutes. Always plan ahead of time your “must know,” “should know,” and “nice to know” information.
If you notice that things are running behind, discreetly ask your contact if he or she wants you to shorten the presentation. Be sure you are familiar with the software function that allows you to seamlessly hide/skip slides. Make no mention of shortening your presentation to your audience; just do it. Gracefully.
Guest Speaking Tip #7: Know How To Use Your Technology
Be sure you practice setting up the technology you will be using. Practice hooking up all the cords and cables and know how long that will take you. Know how to set up the software so that you can view your slide notes and the audience ONLY sees the slides. Know how to easily blacken the screen during your presentation when the slides are not needed (in PowerPoint, simply press B to blacken the screen, and then any other key to bring the slide back up).
Do you have something new with you? In front of your audience is not the place to learn how to use your new presentation remote. Be sure to test the lights and microphone levels ahead of time to be sure they are set as you want them. If you are automatically tweeting during the presentation, run through a few sample slides to be sure the auto tweeting is functioning properly. If tweeting is important, have a back-up plan.
Guest Speaking Tip #8: Plan For The Technology To Fail
Plan for the technology to fail. Always have hard-copies of your notes and the slides, just in case. Save your talk as a presentation file (PowerPoint or Keynote) and as a PDF. Store the files on your computer and on a USB drive. (Yes, it’s like wearing a belt with suspenders. Twice. And I’m okay with that.)
Guest Speaking Tip #9: Keep Some Things a Secret
Never let your audience see anything on your computer other than the slides or other information you intended for them to see. If possible, run through your slides before any audience members arrive. Sometimes you will find that the slides don’t project correctly or there is another unexpected issue. If you run through them early enough, it should give you time to make the correction without anyone seeing. At a minimum, be sure the audience doesn’t see you booting up your computer, opening your file and putting it in presentation mode.
Keep the projector screen blank until you have your opening slide up and ready to go. And never be that speaker who preps her presentation in full view of the whole room while someone else is still speaking; both Barbara (who came up with the idea for this series) and I find this terribly rude to the other speaker.
Guest Speaking Tip #10: Turn Off Everything But What You Need
Turn off everything but what you need. Turn off your screen saver, turn off power save, and turn off all other applications except for what you will be using. I once accidentally left Skype on during a presentation. My husband popped in to ask me question, which popped up on the screen for over 250 to see! How embarrassing! Trust me, I never did that again!! Oh and don’t forget to turn off your own cell phone! (Yep, I forgot that once too!)
So there you have it: five more of the 17 quick and dirty tips to be a great guest speaker. Check out the next episode for even more tips on being a great guest speaker. As I mentioned last time, I started a discussion on my Facebook Page about this topic.
This is The Public Speaker, Lisa B. Marshall. Passionate about communication, your success is my business.
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