Too often we concern ourselves with The How of public speaking and give much less thought to 5 other questions we should be asking of our host. Yes, your public speaking skills may be top notch, however, there are certain things you need to know before you do anything else.

All 5 questions begin with the letter W. While I will not say that one question is more important than another, some of your questions are fairly obvious. I suggest you treat your information like a detective. Knowing the why, who, what, where and when for which you have been invited will make the how a whole lot easier!

The Why. What is the reason someone is inviting you to speak? This may seem like a ‘no-brainer’ but it really isn’t. How did your contact find out about you or hear about you? Have you started a new business which was reported on by a local paper? Did you write an article that captured someone’s attention? Did you accomplish a death-defying feat? Knowing why you have been invited is important for the next 2 reasons.

The Who. To whom will you be speaking? How you address your audience is dependent on your audience. Your language, even your style of delivery will change according to your audience’s needs. In truth, The Who is the most important aspect of your presentation because your audience is the reason for your speaking. That is why knowing your audience beforehand is so valuable. Talking to a group of retired women about your doctoral thesis on ferns will not be nearly as interesting for them as a discussion about the care of ferns and fronds.

The What. About what will you be speaking? This, too, may seem obvious but if you have more than one topic, it isn’t. You may want to discuss your new business and your products; whereas the person inviting you may prefer to hear you talk about how you started your new business.

The Where. Where are you speaking? It is imperative to know exactly where you are expected to speak. If the distance is local, you will probably be familiar with the address; but, what if it is in another city or state? Do you know how many different types of Marriott Hotels there are in each metropolitan area? That information is vital if you plan on arriving at the right one!

The When. When are you speaking? It may seem obvious to arrange the correct date when settling on a day and time; however, it would be a very good idea to say the day of the week in verifying your date. Many mistakes have been made in negotiating a date simply because someone was looking at the wrong month. Don’t miss your engagement because of poor communication. Repeat the information as you make note of it, stating not only the number date but the day of the week as well.

There is enough to worry about in creating a good speech or presentation and then delivering it well. Arriving at the wrong place or at the wrong time or delivering a somewhat risqué after-dinner speech to a group of Baptist ministers does not make for a likely career in public speaking.

Knowing as much as you can in advance will help make your speech or presentation that much more successful as well as the likelihood of other invitations.

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. For more information on upcoming workshops, visit Nancy's Voice Training Workshops.