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.

Lisa B. Marshall
4-minute read
Episode #104

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.  

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:

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.


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.