In journalism, cub reporters are taught to answer the 5W's and an H:
Who, What, When Where, Why and How. It works for me.
• Who is the audience? Who am I to them?
• What's the setting? What's the topic? What's their expectation?
• When is the program? When should I arrive? When must I finish?
• Where is it? Where will I take them?
• Why have they asked me? Why have I accepted?
• How am I going to satisfy their expectations?
Every effective speaker I know has a program defining process. Many use a checklist to insure they have covered the essentials. Mine is a form which prompts me to identify all I need to prepare.
For me, the essential is knowing: knowing the audience, knowing what they want me to achieve before, during and after, knowing when I am to finish and knowing where the nearest exit is in case I need to escape.
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