We tend to think that the creation of our speech or presentation and its delivery are the two most important considerations in public speaking. In truth, what you do before you even set pen to paper can have a tremendous effect on the outcome of your material.

Imagine that someone has gotten in touch with you and asked you to speak to their company, their firm, their organization or club, their university, or possibly at a convention or expo. Perhaps you are toasting a bride, giving a eulogy or delivering a graduation speech.

►You may look upon this invitation with delight or you may regard it with dread.

►You may be talking to 5 people or it could be 500.

►You may be speaking for 10 minutes or as long as 50.

►You may be getting paid or you might be speaking gratis.

► You may be speaking across the street or across the country.

►You may have to arrange and pay for your travel or it may be provided for you.

►You may be on a stage or in the corner of a library.

► You may be one of a long list of presenters or you may be the only speaker.

►You may need a Power Point presentation or possibly some other form of visual aid.

►You may need publicity materials or you may want to sell your book, your CD or some other product.

As you can see, there are a lot of questions that you will need answered. And, while you may think that what happens while you are delivering your speech or presentation is the ‘pièce de résistance,’ what you do before you open your mouth to speak can have an incredible impact on what happens after you open your mouth. Your success on stage, at the sales conference, in the boardroom, or on the podium is dependent on how well you do your homework; therefore, you need to arm yourself with answers before you arrive at the wrong hotel, or in the wrong city, or on the wrong day, or in front of the wrong crowd.

Get as much information as possible in your first contact with the individual inviting you, hiring you or scheduling you, the most important of which is your topic. However, you will also need to the date, time, place, location, size of audience, type of audience, and oddly enough, who else is speaking if there are other presenters.

Two other things you must make note of before you hang up the phone are your contact’s full name and telephone number. Where can you reach that individual should you have more questions? That person is extremely valuable to you. It is quite possible that your contact or coordinator will be the individual who meets you at the door when you arrive on your scheduled day.

If your primary means of communication in life is text messaging, email or twitter, and you receive your invitation electronically, pick up the phone and call the individual inviting you. Should you have no phone number, respond electronically and request a time to speak, one-on-one. Assuming you are not (yet) as prominent as Jack Canfield or Mark Victor Hansen, it is important for you to talk to the coordinator personally. Make the contact and establish some rapport with this individual.

If you are looking for success in public speaking, this advice would be well worth taking.

Author's Bio: 

The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To get started improving your presentation skills, click
Voice Training and Presentation Skills for Nancy's free ebook.