PSU Insight

Preparation is the Key

PPQ — General Questions

Let's start with some questions that you'll probably want to ask of every customer and for every engagement.

  • What is the purpose of your meeting?

  • What are you trying to accomplish with this meeting?

These two questions are pretty obvious. Most meetings have a purpose, and if you know what the meeting’s purpose is (or what the meeting planner is hoping to accomplish) ahead of time, you'll have a better understanding of what your client is expecting of you.

The speaking industry is too competitive and too dynamic for you to expect to survive for long with a "canned" speech. How much you customize your presentation is up to you, but you can't do any customization at all unless you know ahead of time why your client is hiring you to speak to them.

Here’s another general question that can be useful to ask —

  • What is the theme of your meeting?

While the purpose of the meeting may be short (“increase sales”, for example) or it could take several paragraphs to describe, the theme of the meeting (if it has one) is always short — more of a catch-phrase or a sound bite. In fact, the theme of the meeting (“Fun in the Sun”) may have nothing to do with the meeting’s purpose (“improve customer service”).

If you can work the theme of the meeting into your program (or your program’s title), it’s an easy and effective way to customize your program for that particular audience. But, of course, first you must know what the theme is before you can use it!