Monday, February 28, 2011

Getting Ready

When preparing to give a talk or, for that matter, when preparing for an important one-on-one meeting, ask yourself four questions:
  1. Who am I? Does this person (audience) know you? What is your relationship, if any? How do you want your audience to perceive you? What attire would be most appropriate to communicate your role?
  2. Where am I? The physical space will determine how you should use your voice and gestures, and whether you will need a microphone. Find out what audiovisual equipment is available and who will be running it. Think about what you will do if the equipment fails to function as expected. (It so often does.)
  3. To whom am I speaking and what do they expect from me? Why are they here, and what are their expectations? Do audience members share any characteristics? Do they have a specific point of view concerning you or your topic?
  4. What do I want to accomplish? To welcome, to instruct, to motivate, to persuade? Do you want to ask for a raise, explain your situation, or praise another person?

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