PSU Insight

Preparation is the Key

Your Pre-program Questionnaire (PPQ)

A document that you’ll find to be invaluable in preparing for an engagement is a Pre-program Questionnaire, or PPQ. Basically, a Pre-program Questionnaire is a set of questions that give you, the speaker, important information about an upcoming speaking or training engagement.

In the days before the Internet, your PPQ was an actual paper document that was filled in by hand. Nowadays, of course, it's usually electronic, and there are a wealth of ways for it to be delivered and completed. Many speakers use email to send and/or receive their PPQs. Still others use some sort of on-line survey capability. And there's certainly nothing wrong with using the traditional "paper" approach if you're more comfortable with that. It's not important how you do it, but it's very important that you actually do it.

Because there’s no such thing as the “correct” way to administer your PPQ, you need to decide on the method that works best for you. Similarly, there are no “right” questions — you need to ask questions that give you useful information about your clients and about your program. (And these questions may vary from one customer to the next, or one engagement to the next.)

In the following Insights, I’ve listed some sample questions that you might want to consider for your PPQ. You may not want to ask them all — that could intimidate the meeting planner and swamp you with too much information for you to use. Instead, choose the particular questions that provide you with helpful information. (And I certainly encourage you to develop your own questions, using the questions listed here to get your creative juices flowing.)

To help you decide which questions to ask, I’ve grouped similar questions together, and described after each set why you might want to ask these particular questions. They’re listed here in no particular order (except the last one). You should ask your questions in an order that works for your particular PPQ.

Again, it really doesn't matter how you ask your questions, or even which questions you ask. But it's vital that you find out as much as you can about your future customer and audience, so that you can prepare a presentation that's worth the big bucks that they're paying you!