I have traveled for work for fifteen years. I also really like to travel, so I do it even when it’s not for work. In short, in non-pandemic times, I travel frequently.
When I’m choosing what to pack for a business trip, it’s pretty simple. I have specific clothes that are for “work,” so it’s just a matter of choosing the right number of outfits that are appropriate for the climate and weather. (Shoes are sometimes tricky, but that’s another story.)
But I’ve been packing to take my daughter to college, in another country, and I am finding myself at a total loss as to what to take. Do I want to just be comfortable? I’ll meet other parents; what do I want to be wearing? What if we decide to go out to a nice dinner? Is three pairs of pants too many? And what will I wear on the long flight?
Choosing what to include in a speech or presentation is a little like packing for a trip. What are the given constraints: size of suitcase, length of presentation? Within those constraints, what are the essentials? What do you know you can’t do without? Knowing what you do about the situation you’ll be in, are there things you uniquely require?
Like packing, your speech needs less than you may think. Get very clear about what the audience needs from you—what’s the central message? What do you want to create? How can you connect the dots clearly?
Cover all the bases and then, if you have space, throw in an extra shirt (or story, or example). And remember, if everything doesn’t fit, that doesn’t mean you need a bigger suitcase.
My book, Before You Say Anything: How to Have Better Conversations, Love Public Speaking, and Finally Know What to Do with Your Hands, is finally available! I am so excited to get it into your hands. Go here to order from non-Amazon booksellers, or here for Amazon!