In all of the time and effort that we put into creating and preparing to present a speech, all too often we don’t spend enough time thinking about the one key feature that may have a very big impact on how our speech goes: the quality of the meeting that we’ll be speaking at. It turns out that there is a lot riding on the person who set the meeting up in the first place. When we are that person, what do we need to do in order to capture the importance of public speaking and make sure that our meeting helps everyone who will be speaking?
Preparation Makes A Meeting Great
When you are in charge of a meeting where people will be speaking it’s going to be your responsibility to make sure that the audience who shows up for the meeting knows why they are there. We have all been in the situation where we take a look at our calendar and see that we’re scheduled to attend a meeting; however, we have no idea what the meeting is about or why we are going. Make sure that this doesn’t happen for your meeting – get the word out so everyone knows what the meeting is about.
As the person who is arranging the meeting where people will be speaking, it would be nice if you could tell your speakers who will be in the audience. No, you don’t have to know everyone who will be there, but your speakers are going to want to know if there will be any people who are important to them out there. One way that you can go about doing this is by sending out a reminder email to the people that you have invited to attend about a week before the meeting happens. This allows you to get a rough head count of who will be showing up and allows you to keep track of how many important people will be attending.
The people who will be speaking at your meeting also have a responsibility to you before the meeting happens. They need to take the time to provide you with two things. First, you are going to need a title for their speech. Once you have this, you can share it with the people who will be attending the meeting and who knows, it may cause a few more people to show up. Additionally, you are going to want to get a short introduction from each of your speakers. One the day of the meeting, you’ll be using this introduction to get things started for each speaker.
Keep Things Moving During The Meeting
Every year I have an opportunity to host an awards banquet. I enjoy this job, but it comes with a challenge: correctly pronouncing names. I’ve hosted this banquet so many times by now that the audience is very generous and allows me garble names each year. Your audience may not be so kind. What this means for you as the person who will be organizing the meeting is that you are going to have to work extra hard to get the correct pronunciation for each name that you’ll be saying. Take it from me, even if you think that you know how to pronounce someone’s name, double check it!
When the meeting gets started, you are going to have a very important role to play. You are going to be in charge of keeping track of the starting and stopping times for each of the people who will be speaking at your meeting. You need to keep in mind that your audience has only allocated you so much time out of their schedule – they are expecting you to wrap things up on time.
During the meeting you will be the cheerleader for your speakers. It is going to be your responsibility to make sure that their speech goes as well as you can make it go. What this means is that you need to provide an introduction for each of your speakers and their speech. However, because you don’t want to take the attention away from them you need to keep these introductions brief. Additionally, once one of your speakers completes their speech you need to be the first one to start clapping. You’ll be amazed to discover that once you do this, everyone else will then start to clap also.
What All Of This Means For You
In the world of speaking we spend a great deal of time thinking about how we can use the benefits of public speaking to make our next speech even better. However, all too often it can be easy to overlook the simple fact that part of the success of our next speech has to do with the meeting that we’ll be speaking at. How that meeting turns out will have an impact on how our speech is received by our audience. That’s why when you are in charge of running the meeting you need to make sure that everything goes perfectly.
The one thing that you don’t want to have happen is to have people show up for your meeting with no idea as to why they are there. That’s why it’s your responsibility to make sure that everyone knows what the meeting is about. Make sure that you send out a reminder email so that you’ll be able to tell your speakers who will be in the audience. Before the big day you’ll need to get a speech title and an outline for each of your speakers. On the day of the meeting, make sure that you know how to pronounce everyone’s names correctly. You are going to be the person in charge of making sure that everything starts and stops on time. Finally, you are the meeting’s cheerleader so start to clap at the end of each speech.
Giving a speech is hard work. Creating and running a meeting where speakers will be giving their speeches is even harder work. When you find yourself in this role, make sure that you take the time to inform your audience about what they can expect from your meeting while at the same time collecting the information that you’ll need from your speakers. If you can get good at doing this, then it will be your meetings that everyone wants to come to and give a speech at!
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™
Question For You: During a meeting, do you think that you should have all of your speakers speak for the same amount of time?
Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Let’s face it, making a presentation is a lot of effort. When we agree to make a presentation just exactly what are we signing up for? We understand the importance of public speaking and so we’ll spend one, two, four, twelve hours on speech research, creation, and practice not to mention the effort of actually showing up and giving the thing. If we are going to put all of this time and effort into something that just might scare the daylights out of us while we do it, it sure seems like there should be a point to all of this. We’d like our speech to be a success. We’d like to connect with our audience, have them understand what we’re telling them, and in some small way change their lives. What can we do as speakers to make this happen?