Thursday, October 21, 2004

How To Prepare Prior to a Speech

Well, it is the evening before our big International Business Seminar here at the Hotel Equatorial.

I'm just waiting until we do a rehearsal. I've had a great day meeting with Austrade in HCM and then lunch at a local restaurant opposite the former Palace.

It was an eerie experience going past the Palace, and seeing the tanks and actual gates that were crushed during the fall of Saigon in the Vietnam war. Those images defined a generation.

The baked mudfish on the menu was superb.

Back to reality and my hour-long keynote tomorrow is titled "The Brand Within: The 8 Principles to Build a Powerful Corporate and Personal Brand in Any Market".

I've got some great research on local brands and plan to really customise the presentation to the Vietnamese market. The Austrade Commissioner here put me in touch with Kurt Viertel, the local manager with global advertising company Leo Burnett. I rang him and got some great local insights. It really pays to ask for contacts and then follow-up with good questions. This sort of research can turn a good speech into a great one.

I've also spent some time learning some local Vietnamese to use in my opener.

I've drunk a lot of water today, avoiding any alcohol, caffeine and heavy foods so I'm fully hydrated tomorrow.

I also spent an hour in the gym, some time relaxing in the sauna, spa and swimming pool. I find exercise, a good diet and keeping the fluid intake high essential when you're traveling as a speaker and want to be in a peak physical state for a presentation.

My three goals for tomorrow's presentation are:

1. Slow Down - my presentation is in English but 80% of the audience will be Vietnamese.
2. Have Fun - enjoy the moment, keep relaxed and make it memorable for the audience. People learn more and feel better when they're happy and laughing, and
3. Get the audience involved. I've learnt from my experience in the Philippines, Asian audiences (except perhaps Singaporeans who can be a little shy and non-questioning) love to be involved, so I will really work the room with the roving microphone. A bit like Oprah or Jerry Springer - fortunately with my media background I'm comfortable in this mode.

Well, about time to run through my key points, work on my opener and go to the rehearsal.

I look forward to updating you tomorrow.

Tom


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