Speaker Notes to Myself

I don’t think anyone had complaints, but I was not as happy with my recent talks as I could have been. These are reminders to myself for future talks:

  1. Work on my self introduction or have someone introduce me to set context. Even a “Welcome to ______, I’d like to welcome our speaker!” so that people know that I am not the host or promoter or ???

2) At end, make sure I share ways to stay in touch (website, other). Say I’d love to continue the conversation and share a hug. If relevant, gift mantra stickers. If relevant, invite to 1st Saturdays or ask for donations.

3) If someone is speaking after me, know their name and share it. If there is nobody speaking directly after me, have a short explanation of what comes next in the event so people aren’t left hanging/wondering.

4) Let go of the fear of taking too much time. When I have an audience that has come to see me, I relax into a good flow. But when I sense that people did not expect to see me, I either try too hard to impress/entertain OR I try to ‘make it quick’ to not take up too much time. (I asked, “who was aware there was going to be a talk before the dancing?” When I saw only a few hands, I felt a pang of guilt for interrupting their conversations and demanding attention. But afterwards had many people tell me they came to hear me.)

5) Wear a watch so I can be aware of time without having to estimate or check my phone. Or figure out timer that vibrates.

6) Consider using a laptop on the floor (and clicker) with notes/slides even if there is no projector. I don’t like to look at paper in my hands, but find I sometimes forget to mention important points. It would also show “time elapsed.”

7) Have audience questions thought out in advance and a plan on how to share them with the rest of audience. Be clear if I want hands raised, yelling out words/phrases, or actually sharing stories. If hands raised, make sure to make people feel acknowledged.

8) Know which “go-to” stories I want to share in case of a lull.

9) Be conscious of child-appropriate or party-appropriate stories. Some things that Burners think are hilarious make others uncomfortable.

10) Do not assume that people are familiar with Burning Man. I generally ask, but should spend a little time explaining no matter what- just to give context for MY experience of Burning Man as it relates to the stories I share next.

11) Work on best way to explain Grandpa Caleb without slides. (The MLK Jr. Slide serves several purposes, and I need to make sure my explanation works without that photo.)

12) Always take a moment to take in the crowd at the beginning. And consider ending with a Hug Nation hug, if the vibe can handle it.

13) When I am speaking to the audience, pause a little longer with eye contact to people who are clearly connecting.

14) Consider a speaking coach or watching videos with speaking tips to learn (or be reminded) of more things like those mentioned above.