I had a discussion with a friend this weekend about what questions we ask when accepting speaking invitations, and it occurred to me that this is the sort of thing I should blog for two reason – one I have some advice to share and two I’m sure someone will have advice to offer me. Win-win.
Questions for yourself:
1. Do I want to speak? The first question you should ask yourself is do I want to be a speaker? Sure there are some great benefits to speaking and real reasons to do it. But do you want to? Would you rather write? Or do something else? Speaking is time consuming and hard work, you might prefer to put your time and energy else where.
2. Do I want to talk about this topic? It seems obvious but it’s especially important when starting out, it can be very exciting to get your first invitation or offer. You should consider not only are you comfortable with the topic but is it something you want to become known for speaking about.
3. Do I have time? Do you have the time to put together and rehearse a great presentation? Is there enough time between accepting and delivering? How busy is your schedule? Is this how you want to spend that time?
4. What are my fees? Am I willing to speak for free? If you have submitted to a conference you should know whether speaking does waive registration (Computers in Libraries & Internet Librarian) or doesn’t (ALA & most state conferences). If someone is approaching you about speaking they may offer you a set fee, they may want you to speak for free or they may want you to tell them what your fees are, be prepared.
Questions for the organizer :
5. What is the anticipated size of the audience? There is a big difference between an audience of 20 and 200, it changes the feel of the room and the way you talk to them and probably your slides. Are you comfortable with the size of the audience?
6. Will the speech be recorded? If so where will it be archived and will it be publicly available? Are you ok with this?
7. What is the compensation? See number 4 above
8. Is there a cost for attendees? Are you willing to speak for free if there is a cost for attendees? Would you prefer your speeches be freely available?
9. Who is the audience? What type of librarians, what is their background, focus, expertise? If it is not librarian who is the audience ?
Say yes (or no) only after you have successfully answered these questions.
What did I miss? What other questions should you ask before accepting?
Tips for after you have accepted
- Presentation Zen – a whole blog devoted to given effective and good presentations
- The Eloquent Woman: Inspiration, ideas and information to help women with public speaking techniques, eloquence and confidence. – this blog is targeted towards women but guys you’ll get a lot of good advice too.
- Better Beginnings: how to start a presentation, book, article…
- Stop your presentation before it kills again!
- HOW TO give a good presentation
- Giving Effective Presentations
- Presentation = Speech + Slides
- 20 Things to Do After You Accept that Speaking Gig
- Learn How to Brag Without Sounding Like a Jerk
- My First ALA! Advice Tips and Tricks