Take the bespeak Presentation Pledge

Ready to pledge to abandon your old bad presentation habits and adopt and practice new good ones? I promise you, if you do, you’ll find yourself at the end of this year with a better bottom line, a bigger, better network, and MUCH bigger opportunities. You with me? Raise your right hand and repeat the following:

I pledge from this moment forward:

  • I will prepare for every single presentation by thinking about my audience first. I will consider their needs, their problems and goals, their level of knowledge and interest about my subject. I will base my presentation around these things.
  • I will construct my presentation around the (magic) rule of threes. I will think about the three ‘content buckets’ that make up the heart of my presentation. I will clearly lay these out for my audience so they can fill them up as I speak, enabling them to easily organize my message and thus retrieve it.
  • I will be very careful not to use jargon words, acronyms and initialisms particular to my industry or area of expertise. Instead, I will use language an 8 or 88 year old can understand.
  • I will not use my PowerPoint slides as speaker notes. Instead, I will create true visual aids that can illustrate ideas, concepts and data that I cannot explain on my own.
  • I will arrive at the site of my presentation at least 30 minutes early. I will be completely set up and ready to welcome audience members as they come in.
  • I will smile, especially when I begin speaking.
  • I will look at and connect with the audience; I will not turn my back to them and speak to the screen.
  • I will not apologize to my audience, nor will I let them know how nervous I am, how glad I am that the presentation is over, or how much I dreaded the whole thing as this will only distract them from my message.
  • I will thank the audience and the host for the opportunity to speak to them. I will stick around afterward to answer questions, gratefully meet those who want to take the time to introduce themselves and listen attentively to their thoughts and ideas.
  • I will clean up after myself, making sure I leave the site looking better than I found it.
  • I will make notes of what worked and what didn’t, editing the presentation as necessary.
  • I will thank my host via email or handwritten note with 48 hours of the presentation.
  • I am certain that by doing these things I will be a confident, compelling, sought after speaker; one who will be heard. (You can put your right hand down now.)
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