2-Minute Tip: Use a Checklist
Everyday, thousands of airline pilots around the world pull out the same task list them read hundred or thousands of times and it out loud to their colleague. Even though they have the whole thing memorized by now, they still refer back to that list to nearly guarantee they don’t forget anything. The consequences of failure are huge. Forgetting one thing can cost hundreds of lives and millions of dollars in damage. So the use a check list.
The consequences for skipping a step in your talk are not nearly as serious. No one is going to die if we make a mistake. That doesn’t mean we should skip check lists as speakers, though. Working from a checklist as we prepare a talk, pack our bag, and wrap-up an event can make a big difference in our effectiveness. We come across as more professional when we have those procedures in place, and we get to off load some of the cognitive load from our brains. We don’t have to remember to not forget things because we can work from the list.
Sample check lists include:
- What to pack
- Day 1 Shirt
- Day 2 shirt
- Workout shoes
- Presentation kit
- Projector cable
- Slide clicker
- HDMI adapter
- Gaffers tape
- Actions at event
- Greet organizer
- Greet AV Tech
- Check room sight lines
- Confirm projector works
- Find rest room
- Tear down
- Shut off computer
- Shut off projector
- Pack extension cable
- Pack notes
- Follow up
- Thank the organizer
- Complete event report
- Follow up on questions you said you would follow up on
- Submit expense report
I’m sure you can come up with more things for theses check lists.
Post Tip Discussion: Thoughts on Crowd Size
The size of the crowd you are speaking to determines how you deliver your message. It impacts the content and activities that are part of you presentation. It even impacts what you wear to an event.
Some folks might say that the bigger a crowd gets, the harder it is to deliver a talk, but that’s not necessarily true. There are different strategies to deploy in a large group versus a small one, and there are different results you can expect. Here are some thoughts of crowd size. Theses are ideas to get you thinking about what you’ll do in your talk, but the are not strict absolutes — merely a starting points that inform your prep work.
- Small Crowd (under 15 people)
- It’s probably a meeting
- A conversational approach works best
- Interactivity is key
- Time management can be harder since folks are more likely to pursue tangents and cross talk
- Group dynamics play a big role
- They might make a decision
- Medium Crowd (15-50 people)
- Likely a class or educational seminar
- Small group activities are more practical
- Speaker appears to be an authority figure
- Sessions can run multiple hours
- Large Crowd (51-100 people)
- Presentation is more formal
- Small group activities are less practical
- Folks will help you control the room
- Need to determine if you are addressing all of them or a subset of them
- Auditorium (100+)
- Beyond 100 people the crowd tends to blur together
- Often lights block most of the crowd
- Allow time for humor to work
- Timing is critical
- Clothes should accommodate a mic pack
- Stage location may be important
The key with any talk is to get the information you need ahead of time so you can bring the right sized talk to the right sized crowd.Bring the right size speech to the right size talk. Click To Tweet
Call To Action
- What’s the toughest size crowd for you? How do you adapt to crowd size? Let us know in the comments below.
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