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Before You Speak


How do you prepare for a classroom lecture, meeting presentation, or another form of a speaking engagement? I've thought more about my approaches to teaching over the past month, and I wrestled with this question. Finally, after reading a book about speaking, reflecting, asking others about their methods, and now writing about the topic, I have ideas to share with you.

Organize your presentation to support the quality of your message. Before you stand up before the audience, you should have an outline in mind, on a screen or in a notepad, to keep you aligned with the topic and allotted time.

When teaching, I identify the subject per the syllabus calendar and then start the reading process. Book chapters, articles, interview transcripts, and other resources help to formulate ideas about the topic. After getting a solid handle on the material, I start the creative process of choosing illustration tools.

Pictures, videos, music, and capoeira instruments are among my favorite demonstration resources.

I often use PowerPoint to support online and in-person teaching experiences. The pictures and videos in the slides enable me to guide the students toward visual representations of my oral explanations. When choosing images, I select examples reflective of the lesson and my audience’s backgrounds.

The next time you speak to a crowd, think about pictures, videos, or other physical objects that can support your message. They offer attendees a tangible way to connect with you and the topic of your presentation.

I have also learned about the importance of visiting the environment before you deliver your talk. When you teach or lead a meeting, get to the classroom or conference room early and review your outline.

It’s important to feel comfortable and confident when you stand and present information. I’ve learned more about providing dynamic presentations, but for brevity, I will cut this post short.

Today, I am speaking at the International Men's Day Summit in Antigua and Barbuda. Coordinated by the Directorate of Gender Affairs, this annual event brings men together to discuss mental health, men’s health, education, professional development, and healthy relationships.

On Sunday, I wrote a draft of today’s speech. Throughout the week, I made tweaks to improve my chances of connecting with the event’s participants. I ran past the venue on Thursday morning and visualized myself speaking to the audience.

The plan is to use stories from my first book to talk about critical issues impacting the lives of men in the Caribbean and the United States.

There will not be a projector at the beach restaurant where this event will take place to share images or video aligned with my tallk. To illustrate the importance of mindful habits aligned with healthy masculinity, I will incorporate capoeira and the berimbau instrument to teach the participants a song .

As Malcolm X says, "the future belongs to those who are prepared today."

My goal is to inspire these men and provide them with practical tools for living a fulfilling life.

Use the advice shared in this post for your next speaking engagement, and let me know how it turns out.

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