Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Preparation IQ: Part 1

My goal for this blog for 2012 is to provide insight into how I prepare for my programs with a new series titled Preparation IQ. Over the past 20 years, I have delivered thousands of keynotes, workshops and coaching sessions. This experience has provided me a wealth of secrets, strategies and formulas for preparing for presentation success. This year on this blog the secrets will be revealed.

Each time I will briefly overview the program details (audience members, content expectations, length, etc.) and then provide a few preparation techniques. I won't blog on each presentation (I have seven this week alone), but I will post many of them. Beginning with Ada Leadership YOUniversity...


25 adults, 6 hours of presentation time, content is networking strategies, electronic networking and "get to know you" activities.

Prep Techniques:

- This is my third year to present at this program, so step one is to review my notes from previous years. I get hired back because they like what I do. No reason to re-invent the wheel. Plus, there is an entirely new group of people each year, so I can use the same material.

- This program is very basic in terms of deliverables - help the class get to know each other and teach some networking skills. Therefore, it is very activity-heavy and data-light. I list out all the activities and exercises I plan on doing and create a basic outline. Since I have led all of them multiple times, I have a very good handle on how much time they will take. For this program, I know the audience members don't know each other very well, so I am very careful to keep the sharing at a surface level.

- I make sure I have all the material, A/V and handouts necessary for my game plan.

- One of the most important prep items is your "30-second sales pitch". This is a statement at the beginning of your presentation designed to inform the audience on why it is important and valuable for them to fully engage. It must be stated from their point of view. For example, my statement for Ada is, "This multi-month experience can either be just something you did once or it can be a life-changing experience. The biggest difference is whether or not you forge friendships with your classmates. Our mission today is to jump-start that process. Join me."

There is much more that goes into the prep of each program, but after the series is complete, you will know almost every technique I use. I hope they help kick your Preparation IQ way beyond Thunderdome!

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