I am a great procrastinator and tend to disorganisation – for example: this should have been my first post on this subject. This disposition is not helpful in preparing for anything, including writing or public speaking. My first writing tutor is a strong believer in making lists. Procrastinators are probably the people who benefit from them more than any other type of person.
When preparing for a talk, it is a good idea to list all the topics you want to cover. Having ascertained the time limit you have for the whole talk, divide the topics into time slots that fit within that time frame. It might soon become obvious that you will never be able to satisfactorily cover all those topics.
Decide what you can sensibly miss out. However, you should be ready on the day with some information on those topics in case there are questions concerning them.
Next, list the essential information within those topics you want to cover and set a time limit for each section.
For example, if I were speaking about Public Speaking, my preparation list might begin like this:
Time limit: 40 mins
1. Know your subject. 5mins
2. Preparation 15 mins
3. Delivery. 15 mins
4. A satisfying conclusion. 5 mins
1. Know your subject:
a) Revise the basics. 3 mins
b) Looking up sources for reference. 2 mins
a) Make lists: 2 mins
b) Write or type clearly: 3 mins
c) Using equipment 10 mins (Mikes: 3 mins (expand in Delivery); projector: 5 mins; older stuff: 2 mins.
Delivery: a) Speaking; 3 mins; b) using mikes: 5 mins; c) clothing; 2 mins
I won’t go on, as I’m sure you can see how quickly time adds up and you need to make sure your talk is concise and organised if it is to be satisfactory.
The lists make it clear how important it is to allocate time. You might find that you have to completely re-think your delivery and how to use the equipment available.
It really is best to be organised for your talk, even if you are not normally. Speakers (or job interviewees) need a certain amount of acting ability and if you have one, you should leave your disorganised personality behind, convincing the audience that you are knowledgeable, organised, confident and calm. You can let yourself go at home afterwards! This is why I say that rehearsal is quite important, especially for amateurs who do not speak very often in public.