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Guidelines for a Booking

Verify the dates with the society and the times you are expected to be available. If you are travelling to an event and have more than one booking, make certain the society is aware of them and of your plans while in the area, as appropriate. Determine contact person for society and get their contact details.
Agree on the topic of the presentation, approximate time length, equipment needs, etc. Any special equipment should also be recognized and responsibility for it determined.
Let the society know exactly what your financial expectations are - meals, lodging, transportation, honorarium, plant sales, etc. Also indicate your means of transportation. If someone is accompanying you, the society needs to know what, if any, of their expenses are to be included.
If travelling by plane, make reservations well in advance to get the best rates. Making plane reservations at the last minute can double their costs. Speakers usually arrange their own flight schedule. Speakers usually pay for their transportation and get reimbursed, though some societies will purchase the tickets and get billed directly.
Shortly before leaving for the trip, verify everything with the society contact person. On arrival, make certain the contact person is aware you have arrived and where you can be contacted, as appropriate. Also, provide them with any emergency and/or medical information which might be appropriate. Should an emergency, medical or otherwise, befall you, they will have information to provide some assistance and guidance to those responding to the emergency in case you are not able to do so.

Guidelines on Preparing a Talk

Know your material thoroughly. Put what you have to say in a logical sequence. Avoid rambling.
Ensure your talk will be captivating to your audience as well as worth their time and attention. A great way to open a talk or presentation is to cite some intriguing statistics that endorse your premise, are out of the ordinary, totally unexpected, or are not well known. Engage your audience by using 'you' and 'your' to connect with them.
Investigate the particulars on your subject. Collect examples, anecdotes, definitions, comparisons, etc., they can flesh out the main points by adding validity and interest.
Practice and rehearse your speech at home or where you can be at ease and comfortable, in front of a mirror, your family, friends or colleagues. Use a tape-recorder and listen to yourself. Videotape your presentation and analyze it. Know what your strong and weak points are.
When you are presenting in front of an audience, you are performing as an actor is on stage. How you are being perceived is very important. Dress appropriately for the occasion. Present the desired image to your audience. Look pleasant, enthusiastic, confident, proud, but not arrogant. Remain calm. Appear relaxed, even if you feel nervous. Speak slowly, enunciate clearly, and show appropriate emotion and feeling relating to your topic.
Establish rapport with your audience. Speak to the person farthest away from you to ensure your voice is loud enough to project to the back of the room. Vary the tone of your voice and dramatize if necessary. If a microphone is available, adjust and adapt your voice accordingly.
Don't memorize! Try extemporaneous style. This means, reduce your script to a key-word outline, constantly practicing reducing the notes and reducing the notes to keywords. Eventually you might not even need notes.

During the Speech or Presentation

Most speakers and presenters contend with varying levels of public speaking anxiety. You're not alone!
Rather than blocking out the audience, or seeing them in their underwear, try viewing them as allies who are generally supportive and want you to succeed.
Act calmly, even if you feel nervous or anxious. The more you dwell on this nervousness/anxiety, the more likely you will remain preoccupied with it. Don't apologize for being nervous for most of the time your nervousness does not show at all. If you don't say anything about it, nobody will notice. If you mention your nervousness or apologize for any problems you think you have with your speech, you'll only be calling attention to it. Had you remained silent, your listeners may not have noticed at all.
Humility and humour can go a long way. Try to overlook minor errors during the speech/presentation. Overall impressions are more important to the audience than a word-perfect speech.
Concentrate on your message - not the medium - Your nervous feelings will dissipate if you focus your attention away from your anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience, not yourself.
Remember your audience want you to succeed. Consider speaking as an opportunity, rather than something you are forced to do. Get outside of yourself and connect with the audience. Stay in the moment. If self-critical thoughts start to surface, make an effort to switch off the left brain's "critical observer," and try switching on the right brain's "passive, supportive observer."
Use Visual Aids. PowerPoint, Posters, Objects, Videos, etc. help you remember segments of your speech and help you to move to that area physically and mentally. Use items that are familiar and make you feel good. Make sure you practice with them and have taken time to prepare them. A poorly designed and sloppy visual aid will increase your anxiety, not reduce it.
Use physical props too such as plants, if talking about gardening, artefacts for historical societies.
Have a 'gimmick' for each part of your speech - role-plays, skits, poems, music, etc. This helps you to look forward to different areas of your speech.
Movement helps breathing! Plan and practice your movement. The most logical times to move would be during the transitions of your speech.
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