Pre-talk rituals

Pre-talk rituals

Whether you’re hitting the stage for a pitch competition or your first keynote presentation, everyone has their way of getting ready to face the crowd.

My pre-talk preparation? An empathy ritual.

I try to connect with the individuals in the audience before my presentation, for example, by asking them questions during coffee breaks. Before presenting to small groups, I look them up on LinkedIn to understand their backgrounds and find common ground. I also go and sit in the middle of the room, trying to imagine how they will look at me from their vantage point.

This pre-talk ritual helps me understand how the crowd will be feeling about me and how I can respond appropriately to the situation. In this HBR article, Nancy Duarte discusses four types of pre-talk rituals to consider trying before you go onstage.

What is your pre-talk ritual?