Reflecting on public speaking and my talk management system

As I was describing my talk management process and goals in an e-mail to a potential mentor, I realized I’d come pretty far from where I started in public speaking. Here’s what I have (and therefore, what I can help people learn about). I have:

  • A talk information template I send to organizers: This helps me remember to get information about due dates, available equipment, audience size and characteristics, travel directions, and so on. It also lets me ask if there’s a budget available without feeling weird. =)
  • A spreadsheet that I use to calculate due dates for my talks, and a process for getting those deadlines into my task list
  • A process for getting that information into my calendar as well, and a way for someone else to double-check the details
  • A spreadsheet for tracking my personal ROI for public speaking, and some thoughts on how Web 2.0 helps me create even more value (diagram)
  • Several presentation styles I have fun with (
  • A process for editing the recordings, transcribing my talks, and checking my words-per-minute ;): some notes
  • A filing system and naming conventions so that I can store my presentations and related resources on my hard disk (archives/year/yyyymmdd-presentation-title)

Here’s what I’m working on now:

  • I’m experimenting with using Zotero, Evernote, and to find a good way of keeping track of web research.
  • I’m also looking forward to using storyboarding and illustration to improve the information organization and visual design of my presentations.
  • I’m working on slowing down to 140-160 wpm and trimming even more ums and ahs so that I need to do less postprocessing for clarity. =)
  • More templates for supporting material
  • And who knows, maybe I’ll even find a smooth workflow for synchronizing images with audio, possibly including video, and uploading the presentation.

Over time, I’ll also learn more about organizing my own speeches and events, and working with other speakers.

My goal is to be able to help inform and inspire people by consistently preparing and delivering engaging presentations, whether in person, over a teleconference, or as a recorded presentation (that’s tough!). I’ll know I’ve achieved it when I can give a presentation once a week or once every two weeks that makes lots of other people and me smile, learn something useful, and get moved to action. I would like to give 100 talks over the next 3-5 years, and I can also measure my progress based on the number of testimonials I collect.

I enjoy public speaking. Public speaking (complements the other things I do), and applying the principle of relentless improvement to it is a lot of fun as well. =)