I have your perfect packing list for your next speech

@@Rock your next speech with these six things.@@


No one had a pen. No one in the whole godforsaken place had a pen to make an edit on my script. The fact that I didn’t have one frustrated me the most. I was emceeing an event and my 30-page script needed some edits on the fly. I had left my super-duper Boss Lady Sharpie pen at home and now edits were being casually thrown at me.

“Scratch that line…just say this: (insert 500 random new words).”

Damniiiit! I’m a big planner, so getting caught off-guard really crimps my panties.

After more than 20 years of public speaking, I’ve learned a thing or two about what to have on-hand whenever I give a speech or presentation. I like to share what works, so - notes and power points aside - here’s my “perfect speech packing list”, just for you.

1. Water – Always have a glass or bottle of water nearby, and try to hydrate before your speech. This may sound incredibly simplistic, but getting up to talk when you’re dehydrated can leave you mealy-mouthed and fuzzy-brained.

2. Business cardsIf your speech is as awesome as it should be, people will no doubt ask you for your business card afterwards. Have a stash in your left pocket or handbag.

3. Mints or hard candy – after all that talking, you’ll likely want or need a little something to coat your mouth. Keep a hard candy or mint in your pocket or bag…you’ll also win extra points for having fruity or minty breath when you greet folks afterwards.

4. Protein + carb – Often, I find that I forget to eat before a speech (practice time + a little nerves do not go well with food). Or, the event where I’m speaking is serving food – but who has time to eat when it’s time to get up and speak? Always keep a good protein/carb snack on hand. Avoid nuts, popcorn or any other food that can get stuck in your teeth or throat. Bonus: bring some floss…nothing is worse than giving a speech with something green peeping out between your pearly whites.

5. Bright shirt + comfy shoes – I know: I probably sound like your grandmother right now. But, big mama, abuelita, ya-ya and mima were usually right. Your big speech is not to the time to red-carpet your best Johnny Cash-black or ultra-high heels. Yes, black + heels is my go-to look, too…but the color can drown you out and the heels can make for a disaster. Stick with colors that create some energy, like jewel tones or vibrant pastels. If you must wear black, tan, gray or white – accentuate with some color. Change into a bright tie (fellas) or add a bright scarf or belt (ladies).

6. Pen + Paper – we’ve come full circle, friends. Always carry either a fine-tip marker or blue/red-ink pen for the inevitable moment you need to make changes to your notes. One of my clients had his speech all prepped on paper when an event organizer whispered in his ear that the agenda had changed and he would only have 5 minutes to present versus 10. Edits had to be made. He whipped out a napkin and pen and started editing on the fly. Thank God for good pens…and cocktail napkins.

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Did I miss anything? What's in your bag or pocket when you give a speech?