It’s the holidays which, for me, means lots of packing. Packing gift bags, packing the trunk with groceries, packing the car for road trips, and packing a couple extra pounds into my clothes. All that packing got me thinking about things I usually bring with me when I have a speaking engagement. Whether it’s a conference or just a regular day of teaching, I keep a few things on hand to make sure I’m prepared for anything. I’ll call it my speaker’s emergency kit.
You might want to consider throwing together a little kit of your own to have available the next time you present. Below are the things I have in mine. I put them all in a large plastic zipper bag, and then I drop it into my tote or my laptop case whenever I speak.
- Mints: While I don’t like having anything in my mouth while I’m actually presenting, I do like to have mints nearby for before and after my presentation. These come in handy for those close-up conversations.
- Cough drops: Just in case my throat gets irritated, I always have soothing throat drops available. My favorite is doTerra’s OnGuard throat drops.
- Business cards: You never know who might be in the audience when you present. Make sure to have your business cards on hand.
- Lint roller: Since we have pets in our home, I always use a lint roller right before I leave my house and then again as I’m getting out of my car. First impressions are important, and your appearance is a major part of that.
- Tape: This may seem like a strange thing to include, but it can come in handy for several reasons like getting rid of lint, securing cords that could be a tripping hazard, or holding notes in place.
- Batteries: If you use a slide remote, make sure to keep extra batteries in your bag in case you need them.
- Charger: I like to use my phone as a timer when I’m speaking so that I don’t go over time. This can drain the battery pretty quickly, so I always make sure to have an extra phone charger with me. And if I’m using my laptop, the charging cord always comes with me, too.
- Glasses/Contacts: About a year ago, I was teaching and my contact lens started to bother me during my lecture. I rubbed my eye and accidentally ripped the lens. I had to teach the rest of the day wearing just one contact. Ever since that incident, I always have extra contact lenses or my glasses on hand.
- Band-aid: It’s always a good idea to keep a band-aid in your bag just in case. Whether you need to treat a paper cut or cushion a blister from those shoes you hardly ever wear, you’ll be prepared.
- Safety pin: A safety pin is a good thing to have around in the case of a ripped hem, loose button, or any other wardrobe malfunction.
- Notecards: Technology doesn’t always work like it should which can be a real problem if you speak from notes on a phone or laptop. In those cases, it’s a good idea to have notecards ready so you can quickly jot down your main talking points. You might also find that notecards come in handy if you need to exchange information with someone following your presentation.
- Pen: This one is self-explanatory but important. On more than one occasion, I’ve thought of a last-minute revision to my presentation that I needed to quickly scribble in on the margin of my notes.
- Water bottle: It’s always a good idea to have a water bottle close by in case you need it while you are presenting. Dry mouth is a common problem for many speakers, so keep water handy and start hydrating 24 hours before your presentation.
These are the things in my speaker’s emergency kit. It just takes a few minutes to compile these items or replenish them as needed, but it gives me such peace of mind to know that I’ll be ready for whatever might come up. Once you’ve compiled these items along with other things you think you might need, it’s easy to bring your preparedness kit with you whenever you speak. That way you can take your mind off of all that could go wrong, and instead, focus on everything that is going to go right.
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