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Communicate Your Wishes

I always send the organization sponsoring my speech a complete list of my requirements—audiovisual and otherwise. Be as specific as possible; if you think you are spelling out something too much, do it anyway. Never assume. I once asked for a room to be set up "classroom style," because I was conducting a training session. But when I arrived there were no tables for people to write on, even though I had specified they would be necessary. Luckily, I had arrived an hour early and was able to find some tables. Always allow yourself extra time to correct crisis situations.

Careful stage managing is vital before any important meeting or discussion you are involved in. For example, if you are meeting with your boss to discuss your department's strategy for the next year, you will want to time the meeting right and hold it in a place where interruptions and distractions will be minimal.

Check and double-check all details and make copies of the checklists at the end of this chapter. Don't let the details of stage managing throw you; in reality, knowing you have addressed them makes you appear much more professional and at ease—qualities that you can't help but communicate to your audience. And once you have managed your surroundings, you will be in a much better position to manage the questions your audience sends your way at the end of your presentation.

For those speakers who have to travel to make presentations, I have also have included a transportation checklist. The last checklist, the Postprogram Summary, will be of help to professional speakers and those of you who make frequent presentations to the public.


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