March 9, 2016

Good Intentions

Posted in Career Options, Personal Image tagged , , , , , , , at 2:44 pm by Yvonne LaRose

After striving month after month and year after year, the proposal to speak was finally accepted. No, the actual content was not prepared in advance. No, not even the bullet talking points had been collected. It seemed as though the priority was to get accepted and know something about the special focus of the group before doing those things. But now there are fingertips on the gold ring. All that’s necessary is to use the lead time to pull things together.

When is it due?

When is it due?

Are you the type whose fortune is predicated on “If it can go wrong, it will”? That’s the time when your equipment falls apart and you don’t have budget for doing the repairs for another three months. Or you fall ill with some exotic ailment that has you bedridden for three weeks (or maybe until two days after the deadline date). Maybe it isn’t any of those things but it is the spontaneous demonstration that has all routes to the venue blocked for five hours. What about that earthquake? No matter what it is, you got prepared but you couldn’t deliver. Is that an omlette on your face? It looks like eggs.

So you’re back to submitting more proposals for what feels like eternity. With the number of polite rejections, it feels like the word is out that you talk big but can’t (or routinely do not) deliver. No, it isn’t fear of failure. That bugaboo has a repellent in your house that works really well. You also have a very long, but also very old, history of great deliveries.

Maybe the picture has changed in the interim. The old track record was when you were doing presentations for fraternal or charitable venues where everything was a volunteer (free) effort. You already knew the nature, personality, and needs of the audience. The audience was already aware of the quality you strove to (and did) deliver. That was the past; this is now. Now, you’re on your own. You’re looking forward to re-establishing your credibility and you realize part of that credibility is being compensated as a professional for presenting your knowledge.

Well, there are a few things you need to do before submitting your proposal.

  • Work out a framework, a skeleton, of your presentation
  • Determine who needs to know that information and why
  • Research what organizations are part of that target market and come up with contact people
  • Draft your proposal
  • Include a speaker’s fee in the proposal, and any expenses you want covered
  • Include a contingency clause in your proposal (unexpected, unforeseen circumstances that vitiate against performance)
  • Start tailoring the skeleton framework to meet the needs of your audience
  • Stay focused on finalizing that presentation

About one to two weeks before you’ve done the finishing touches and rehearsed for the fifth time, begin the process anew for the next proposal.

There’s a bonus to doing these things in order to prepare for your presentation. They are extremely similar to the steps that should be taken to search for a new job and prepare for the interviews (screening, preliminary, in-person, final and negotiations). But we can talk about those dynamics on another day. Meanwhile, consider this. Failure is such a difficult word (and concept) to swallow. Yes, there’s a lot to learn from that cactus, but there’s so much to savor from being able to deliver (on time as expected) on your promises.

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