You’re going to give a speech today.  It’s a high-stress time for most of us.  You don’t want to forget something really important.  Following is a checklist for ensuring that when you get up to speak you’re ready – really ready – to go.

1.  Check your computer – is the speech loaded and ready to go?  If your speech is on paper, make sure you have the paper.  With the pages numbered! 

2.  Check your backups – do you have a couple of other ways to give the speech if something goes wrong with the primary method? 

3.  Check your outfit – are your clothes clean, pressed and ready to go?  Do they contrast appropriately with the background you’re speaking in front of?  Do you feel good in them?  Do you have backup clothes ready to go in case someone pours ketchup on your shirt or blouse? 

4.  Check the hall – have you rehearsed in the space?  Do you know what the sound, the lighting, the stage, and the audience perspectives all are?  If you’re traveling there on the day, do you know where it is?  Have you allowed enough time to get there – at least 2 hours in advance?  More if you’re flying there on the day (not recommended)? 

5.  Check the technology – have you tested everything you’re using to make sure it actually works in the space – Power Point, computer connections, video, audio, etc? 

6.  Check with your introducer – have you met the person who is introducing you?  Does that person have an introduction (that you’re provided) ready to go?  Have you talked over the choreography of the introduction and how you’re getting on stage or to the front of the room?  Do you know the schedule of the day – who’s on before and after you? 

7.  Check with your audience – have you done your homework about who they are?  Have you met them?  If you’re not able to meet them, have you talked about them in some detail with the conference organizer? 

8.  Check yourself – have you had enough sleep?  Have you rehearsed the speech?  Have had a little exercise (but not too much) to manage your adrenaline?  Have you eaten/drank enough to keep upright but not comatose?  Are you focused? 

9.  Check your meds – Especially if you’re on the road, do you have aspirin/sinus medication (non-drowsy), any other medicine that you need to get through the day? 

10.  Check your breathing – how nervous are you?  Do you need to do some calming exercises?  Some deep breathing?  Are you focused on an authentic, positive emotion connected with the speech?  How can you get into that mind set if you’re not there? 

The only reason to give a speech is to change the world.  Don't let some detail get in the way of changing the world.  Check the list.  Be ready.  And good luck!


  1. Great checklist. I no longer show up with a spare set of overhead slides, but I do usually have access to backup files in a number of forms and as well as printed notes. Paranoia actually saves me from being paranoid.

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