How to prepare: checklist for great talks

How to prepare: checklist for great talks

Before the event

  • Questions to ask to prepare:
    • Who is the audience? Why are they coming?
    • Can organizer provide demographics?
    • Can you look at last year’s programs? Were there reviews of the event on blogs?
    • What are other speakers speaking about?
  • Will this be a keynote lecture (more scripted) or small (more interactive)?
  • Create a list of questions audience will want answered in the talk
  • Prioritize the list and sketch out stories / ideas / points
  • Budget at least 10x time to prepare ( 1 hour talk will take roughly 10 hours of preparation)
  • Develop ten minutes of rough draft material
  • Practice the ten minutes. Do not procrastinate.
  • Revise material when it doesn’t work, then practice again from beginning. Repeat as necessary. (See Chapter 5 of Confessions for a full description of how I prepare)
  • Do a test run in front of people who will give honest feedback (Or videotape and watch).
  • Practice with a clock with goal to end reliably with an extra 5 minutes.
  • Ask for emergency contact cell#, give organizer yours
  • Get directions to the venue, including office-park insanity, and within building insanity
  • If appropriate, post slides to web, include URL at end of talk


Leaving for the event

  • Get an hour of exercise that morning or night before.
  • Check laptop: do you have all cables? Is it working fine? Are slides on it? Battery charged?
  • Bring backup slides on flash drive / Extra-backup online somewhere / Print back-up of slides
  • Bring remote control: Check battery
  • Shower, shave, prune, scrub, brush, deodorize
  • Ensure you avoid all avoidable stress (get there early no matter what)


At the event

  • Register and let organizer know you’ve arrived (txt message if necessary)
  • Find your room and watch another speaker speak in it. Notice anything?
  • If time allows, mingle and meet people who might be in your audience
  • Return to room to catch (at least) tail end of last speaker before you – maximize time to set up.
  • Get laptop hooked up to projector immediately. Most problems occur here.
  • Find tech person, or call organizer – you’ll need their help to get microphone set up, or to deal with any tech issues.
  • Test remote. Test any fancy videos or fancy anything.
  • Walk the stage. Get your body comfortable with the room.
  • Make sure you have a glass of water or preferred beverage at the lectern.
  • Sit in the back row for a few seconds, and imagine yourself on stage.  Also check that the text on your slides is readable from back there.
  • Relax. You’re prepared and all set. Nothing left to do. Nothing you do now will change anything. Either you prepared well or you didn’t. Enjoy the ride.
  • If needed, distract yourself by going for a walk or other physical activity


After the event

  • If a speaker follows you in the room, get out of their way so they can get set up
  • Make yourself visible so people can find you to ask questions about your talk
  • Write questions from attendees on their business cards so you can answer in email later
  • Post slides if appropriate
  • Email people who gave you their cards, answering their questions
  • Thank the organizer and ask for any feedback (positive/negative)
  • If your talk was videotaped, ask for a copy so you can watch and improve.
  • Have a beer

By Scott Berkun


“ADSO= Inovação e Competência. Mais que um fornecedor de serviços são parceiros estratégicos.” Filipe Silva – FAFstone

“Pela seriedade, profissionalismo e empenho! Sabe "vestir" a nossa camisola!” António Ressurreição



Enter the word


Enter the word

Links directos

classificado em: ,