Giving a speech or a presentation takes time and effort. And often it isn’t the right thing to do, given the circumstances and the need.
Before agreeing to give a speech or a presentation ask yourself three questions: Me? Here? Now?
Question #1: Me?
Am I the right person to give this presentation? Do I have the right knowledge and experience? Will I be credible to the audience?
Do I have a stake in the topic or in the audience being addressed?
Do I have something worthwhile to share — new information or ideas or a different way of thinking?
Question #2: Here?
Is this the right place, forum, or event to speak? Will the setting and room set-up, schedule, and agenda do justice to what I have to say and what I want to accomplish?
Are these the right people for me to address?
Question #3: Now?
Is this the right time to speak? Does my topic have relevance to what my audience is concerned about — or should be concerned about — now?
Am I given the time I need to address this topic adequately? Am I scheduled to speak at a time that will assure me of the audience’s attention.
This may sound funny coming from someone who makes his living by giving speeches and by helping others give them, but I’m skeptical about accepting speaking invitations. I want to speak only when I can do some good, when I am given an audience suited to my topic and approach, when the event is planned and managed in a way that gives me the opportunity to succeed.
And I encourage you, when possible, to consider carefully before agreeing to give a speech.