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Two Keys to Last Minute Speech Prep

Okay, so you’ve got a talk coming up in three days and you haven’t done a thing.

You’re about to stand up in front of 300 people you’ve never met. Your job is to inspire them. No small task, and yet you keep procrastinating.

After all, your world is already full…and you’ve spoken many times. Yet you feel this creeping anxiety. You’re full of ‘should.’

So, the next time you have five minutes in a restaurant, pick up a cocktail napkin and write on one side:

1. Where am I?

Meaning, how do you feel? What’s bubbling up? What are you afraid of, what are you inspired by? Where are you going? What haven’t you been ready to say? What story has emerged as of late that you’d like to share?

The answers to these questions will inform what you’re going to say and how you say it.

So now, flip over the cocktail napkin and write:

2. Where are they?

Who are they, and what journey are they on? What do they need? What are they learning? What are they afraid of? What are they inspired by? Where do they want to go? What questions might you have that you could find the answers to?

Obviously you won’t be able to answer this for everyone in the audience. But you can answer them for a few.

Then you can put your cocktail napkin in your pocket and later, ask the same questions:

Where am I?

Where are they?

You might, as I do with my clients, ask yourself these questions several times. Perhaps the first time nothing meaningful emerges. But by the third time, it may.

The things that emerge will help you create your journey for them, your beginning point, and your landing point.

Then, that same old talk you give may just have some new elements, some new relevance, and some new inspiration.

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