And it can be terribly easy to be that speaker: You know, the high-maintenance one, or the boring/irrelevant one.
You want to be the one who is memorable for positive reasons. Here’s a list of 14 ways to not suck.
1. Learn as much as you can about your audience before you speak. (This is a good tip for any public speaking situation.) Even if you don’t know much about the organization beforehand, you can learn a lot during the mealtime, if that’s part of your engagement with them. During the meal, listen more than you talk. When your presentation begins, weave in examples that you know are relevant to this group.
2. Find out from your contact at the organization what the norms are for speaking engagements like this one. Will the audience members expect handouts? Is there usually a Q&A session? What’s the best way for you to share your contact information with every audience member?
3. Let your contact know what your A/V needs are as far in advance as possible, and only request what is necessary. Avoid last minute surprises, as they often cannot be accommodated—and they turn you into that speaker.