In an ideal world, we can plan all our details and know what’s coming up or is right around the corner.  Sounds pretty good, right?  But reality is that much of what happens in our lives is unknown and therefore unplanned.  And that brings us to my favorite topic…public speaking.

Recently, I assisted a person prepare for an internal promotion, which as you may realize is a presentation and therefore a form of  public speaking.  We approached this project by addressing the following:

  1. audience analysis
  2. response structure
  3. transitions
  4. rate of speech
  5. pausing strategically
  6. vocabulary
  7. delivery of response
  8. active listening
  9. non-verbal language
  10. confidence

These ten areas are vitally important when ensuring your desired outcome. Once we established the foundation, I strongly encouraged a particular method of practice to reinforce key learnings.  Only one problem—the person waited until a few days before the actual interview to work with me.  It was only 5 days before the interview, which is cutting it pretty close.  In my opinion, time wasn’t on the person’s side.  Do you agree?

My personal approach when it comes to my own preparation is to begin as soon as a date is known.  It really doesn’t matter if it’s well in advance because as I said at the outset, we simply don’t know what else will be expected of us or what other priorities may arise.  For that reason I recommend being proactive as it reduces stress dramatically and helps us maintain a sense of control.  This has always worked for me and is what I recommend to my clients.

Start early and you’ll find time is on your side.