The Essential Professional Speakers Tool Kit

by | Mar 8, 2020

As a professional speaker, you’ll likely be out on the road regularly travelling to deliver keynotes around the country or even the globe. Having your speakers kit bag at the ready will help you make sure you have everything you need for a successful engagement. It’s helpful to be prepared for the unexpected and having the right kit in your bag will give you peace of mind.  You’ll also be an event organisers dream when you have backup kit should their equipment fail!

There is enough to think about when delivering a keynote so planning ahead having your own equipment to ‘plug and play’ gives you reassurance and confidence.

Your kit list may vary depending on the types of keynote you are delivering, but here we’ll illuminate some of the essential items.

1. Laptop
It could be that the event organiser has asked you to simply provide them with your presentation by email ahead of time or to bring it with you on a USB drive. But take your laptop in case the USB gets corrupted or you want to make some tweaks to your presentation last minute. Have the Powerpoint, Prezi or Keynote loaded and ready to go.

2. Clicker
Clickers are generally pretty reliable but it’s worth having your own on hand, at least as a backup. You don’t want to have to run back to the laptop to move to the next bullet or slide if the clicker isn’t working. They come with varying degrees of bells and whistles and we’re fans of ones with timers that vibrate in your hand to let you know where you were with timing.  Check out one we use here.

3. Cables and Accessories
Keep it to a minimum whilst making sure you have the essentials such as relevant power cables, HDMI cable, VGA, dongles and any other converters or adapters appropriate to your laptop for connecting to a screen or projector.

It’s also great to have spare batteries and extension lead on hand.

3. Printed Speaker Intro Sheet
Even though you have probably sent this to the host ahead of time don’t assume they will have it to hand when they need to introduce you. It’s worth having a printed copy of the intro you want the MC to use so you can easily hand it over to them and be confident they aren’t going to read the bio they googled on you that is now 3 years old.

4. Recording Devices
As you know we are constantly telling you to record your speaking gigs, either on video or just the audio (with appropriate permission from the client) so you can update your showreel, grab stills for your speaker profile, share snippets on Social Media or use it to critique your performance. Your smartphone may well be all you need if it can record in HD but make sure you can capture good quality audio on something like a Hey Mic too (and that you have plenty of recording space on whatever device you are using).

5. Smartphone
More than likely this very handy bit of kit will be with you at all times. With some great apps for timers, recording yourself on camera, capturing the audio or perhaps polling the audience with live audience polling software. You can also collect a video or audio testimonials to add to your speaker profile.

6. Backups
Have your presentation on a USB flash drive/memory stick or external hard drive, in case a change of laptop is required with short notice so you can quickly hand it over to the tech team who can load it up easily and quickly and get you back in action. It’s worth having your presentation as the only item on the stick so no one gets confused as to what presentation to load. A PDF version of your presentation is also useful should it need to be printed and used as a handout.

7. Business Cards
Once you have wowed the audience people will want to connect with you, work with you or stay in touch. Some will want to book you for another speaking event. Having your business cards to hand will help you when you get swamped!

8. Speakers
At larger events you are going to have to rely on the sound system provided, but if you are going to run a breakout session or workshop then having your own portable wireless speaker could help your audience hear you more clearly.

9. Computer Mouse
It can be so much easier to use a mouse than a touch pad if you have last minute changes to make in your presentation. It can also work as another back-up for a faulty clicker.

10. Handouts, Giveaways and Books
Do you use handouts as part of your presentation? Maybe you’ll be doing a book signing after your keynote, or you want to display one on stage whilst you are speaking. Maybe you use branded merchandise to promote your brand – make sure you have it packed in your kit bag.

11. Additional Content
We’ve mentioned in a previous newsletter that it’s worth being prepared with additional content because event organisers can sometimes suddenly find themselves a speaker short and you could help out. With your content ready to go on your laptop (and loaded onto the USB so you can hand over to the tech team if necessary) you are ready to jump into action with an ice-breaker, mini-workshop or extra content to save the day.

12. Flipchart Pens
There may be occasions where you want to use a flipchart so having a few coloured pens in your kit bag is useful.

13. Notepad and Pen
Just a handy thing to have. You may want to take notes from the other presentations that have come before you so you can refer to them in your own keynote or perhaps you want to capture a name and number of someone who would like to book you.

14. Hydration & Snacks
Make sure you take care of yourself and your energy levels for the job in hand. Water bottles, protein shakes and energy bars are all great things to have as part of your kit to keep you in tip-top condition for your engagement.

15. Watch
If you aren’t using a clicker with a timer or your smartphone for keeping track of your timings then make sure you have a watch. Event organisers will appreciate you staying on time and not throwing their carefully planned event schedule off track.

16. One for fun
Have you heard of a Throw Mic? Designed to get your audience talking and gain engagement during your keynote. It’s a mic designed to be thrown around for an audience member to catch and ask their question or make their comment. Great for creating energy, engagement and fun with your audience. Check out the Catchbox or Big Mic Ball.

Stellar Regards,

Your Stellar Team

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