May 31, 2012

Hi, my name is Lisa. I'm a paranoid preparer.

I've been behind on blogging this week as I'm finishing up projects and prepping to travel to the World Tea Expo on Friday, speaking on Saturday about business networking.

Have you ever had that terrible feeling on the way to a speaking engagement, or worse, while you're on site, that you've forgotten something and there's nothing you can do about it?

I'm big on preparation, as you know, so even for local presentations, I'm a bit of a paranoid preparer, in that I'm always afraid I'm going to leave something behind, so I bring EVERYTHING I could possibly need. This has come in handy; several times I've needed batteries for my remote, masking tape to hold flip charts together, and other various and sundry odds and ends.

Now add to that the fact that I can't just run out to Staples or the drugstore if I need something for my presentation, because I'll be staying in a hotel next to the Las Vegas Convention Center. You can see how my preparation paranoia balloons just a bit when I travel.

I try to leave nothing to chance in my presentation prep (realizing that some things are just not under my control), which means that, even though the convention center supplies the computers and projectors, I always bring my own.

I've planned -- and tried on -- an outfit with a waistband so that I can wear the transmitter that comes with the lavalier microphone. This can be a bummer for women, because we don't always want to wear an outfit with pockets or waistbands when we speak. I had a cute dress in mind for this workshop, but alas, it was not to be. However, I prefer a lavalier mic to a handheld mic any day, so I'm grateful to have that option!

And, considering that on one of our Las Vegas trips, the airline lost my husband's luggage (until the very last day of our trip, after we had already bought him a new wardrobe), I'm packing my speaking outfit in my carry-on, which is my speaking bag and has everything I need for my presentation. Some speakers don't check bags, but frankly, I'm too old and creaky to lift my suitcase into the overhead compartments these days, and the worst thing is dragging that bag onto the plane and finding all the overheads full already. So yes, I check a bag, and take my chances.

But actually, what I'm paying most attention to right now is my voice. I have no appointments today, so I can rest it. But tomorrow I'll start my day in a dry, air-conditioned airplane, which will drop me into the dry desert air of Las Vegas and more air-conditioning in the hotels. My 90-minute workshop is first thing Saturday morning, which means if I don't hydrate today and tomorrow, I may suffer the consequences. I also have a bit of a sore throat, which means I will also be incorporating salt gargles today and tomorrow for some healing.

I will say that, having spoken at the World Tea Expo before, these are some of the best-organized and well-planned conferences I've attended. At some conferences, the speakers almost seem like an afterthought, pretty much fending for themselves, but not here. I've written before about how WTE manages every detail for the speakers, down to taping the door latches in the breakout rooms so the doors are silent if people come and go. I feel completely confident that, if anything goes wrong, they will be able to fix it. Working with thorough and conscientious organizers is always such a pleasure.

For two handy preparation checklists that you can use before your presentations, download my free handouts: Presentation Tools Checklist and Presentation Readiness Checklist.

Do you have a speaking engagement coming up that you're prepping for? Tell me about it in the comments!

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