Improving my talk management process

Posted: - Modified: | happy, kaizen, presentation, speaking

Now that I’m reasonably happy with managing my calendar with a combination of virtual assistance and tools like TimeBridge, I’d like to improve my talk management system. I give lots of talks, and I’d love to scale up to do even more, and to do them even more effectively.

Here are the key tasks I might be able to outsource:

  • Coordinate with the event organizer on
    • date and time of talk
    • location and directions (public transit and driving; call-in numbers and web conference details if virtual)
    • size and characteristics of audience
    • organizer’s objectives
    • context of talk (previous and next activities)
    • resources available (projector, whiteboard/blackboard, easel, microphone, video recording)
    • speaker’s fee / honorarium / time and materials?
  • Add a calendar event with all the details
  • Get the event organizer’s emergency contact information
  • Send title, abstract, bio, and picture
  • Take my outline and look for stories, examples, and statistics
  • Take my outline and turn it into text slides
  • Add links to my pre-talk blog post
  • Add photography (stock photography or Creative Commons Attribution content), with proper citation
  • Confirm the date, location, and title a few days before the event
  • Verbally remind me the morning of the event and send me a summary e-mail with the event details, the event organizer’s emergency contact information, the talk information, and my outline (just in case slides fail)
  • Thank the organizer
  • Type in speaker evaluations and contact information
  • Follow up with people who attended my talk
  • Coordinate with any lucky winners of giveaways
  • Put my slides and recordings together (I wish…)
  • Update my talk ROI spreadsheet

If I can get parts or all of this process in place, the results will be:

  • I’ll worry less about getting the dates wrong
  • I’ll worry less about lacking important information before a talk
  • The coordination process will be smoother
  • I’ll go into the talk with more confidence
  • I can spend less time thinking about the details of talks and more time thinking about the fun of it
  • I may be able to scale up to more than one talk per week, someday
  • I’ll be able to teach other people processes for preparing for talks =)

You can comment with Disqus or you can e-mail me at