A Public Speaker’s Checklist – Free PDF File

Last year I wrote a post about logistical items that speakers should remember for a speaking engagement. Reader response was so good that I created an addendum.

To put these ideas into a more practical format for you, I have reworked the checklist into a single-page PDF file. Items are grouped by category and there is space for you to add your own. As well, there is space at the bottom to add the title of your presentation, your audience, the venue and date of the presentation.

To download the file, please click the image below.

A few reminders about the checklist:

  • It is restricted to matters of a logistical nature.
  • It is designed to be comprehensive. You will not need each item, every time.
  • Your host will likely have many of the items. Still, it is good to have back-ups.
I hope that this checklist is helpful. Please share it with your friends and colleagues.

About John Zimmer

International speaker, presentation skills expert, lawyer, improv performer
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52 Responses to A Public Speaker’s Checklist – Free PDF File

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  6. Rita UX Sobczyk (@Rita_UX) says:

    Congratulation! Your check-list is very complex, yet comprehensive. It will help me a lot!

  7. Dan Steer says:

    Brilliant ! I will give this to my training participants.

    Thanks for creating this!

  8. Mark Clayson says:

    Awesome checklist. Much appreciated.

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  12. Fran Watson says:

    Thanks for the checklist. I just tweeted about it. I will add it to my website, blog and send it out to fellow Toastmasters.


  13. Esther Hu says:

    Thank you for sharing. It is very useful for me, a new worker, graduated from school this year. I am Chinese, I will add this resource on my Chinese website to share with my friends.

    Thank you very much, John.

    • John Zimmer says:

      Thank you for the comment, Esther. Xie xie! Thank you also for sharing the checklist with your friends; I am glad that your find it useful. Congratulations on your graduation. I wish you much success with your work. I very much hope to be able to travel to China one day to visit your country.

      Best regards,


  14. martyfahncke says:

    Awesome checklist. Thanks for creating and sharing it!

  15. John,

    Thank you again for sharing your checklist for public speaking. It’s been an invaluable tool, and I’ve enjoyed passing this along to others. I’m a huge list person. It’s especially helpful for me as I move from teaching preschoolers (pretty low tech, lots of crayons, scissors and glue!) to a coaching career, this puts me right into my organizational comfort zone.

    • John Zimmer says:

      Thank you, Denise. Glad you like the checklist and thanks for passing it on. Best of luck with the career shift! (But keep the crayons, I like the idea of getting people back to when they were children.)



  16. Janet Gadeski says:

    John, this is a great checklist. As a professional singer, I’d like to pass on a singer’s tip and ask you to think about one of the checklist items – the cold water. Vocal cords are muscles. So are your articulators – tongue and lips. Drinking cold water before and while speaking is like soaking your legs in cold water before you run. Room temperature water will leave your vocal cords and articulators supple and ready to go.

    • John Zimmer says:

      Janet, thanks so much for the tip. Duly noted. It’s funny, but earlier this week and acupuncturist told me that drinking room temperature water is easier on the stomach than cold water. What you say makes perfect sense. As a long distance cyclist, I have experienced many long rides on hot days when cold water was much desired for rehydration and to keep my core temperature down. I suspect that may have tainted (fitting word) my approach to water.



  17. Velva Lee Heraty aka Dream Momma says:

    Thanks John. Very helpful. Will share. Do you have another one for traveling presenters? πŸ™‚

    • John Zimmer says:

      Thank you, Velva. Much appreciated. I don’t have a specific list for traveling presenters; however, many of the items in the PDF will be relevant for those who have to travel to give presentations.

  18. Ginny says:

    Nice! I had a “do not forget” list on my refrigerator door for last week’s presentations.

  19. Philip Ridgway says:

    You could also do one in reverse … how many times have I left the venue with my laptop but with the extension cable still in the power socket … I could probably do a half hour presentation on that subject alone …

    • John Zimmer says:

      Thanks, Philip. It’s a common occurrence. You’re so focused on the presentation and making sure that everything is in place, that when it is over you’re usually at least a little bit tired. And that’s when you forget things. What you can do is go through the list again and make sure that all the objects that have been checked have been collected.


  20. Joyce Vincent says:

    Thank you for posting this. It is a useful tool for orgainzers of speaking events as well. I will send it out to speakers that we are contracting if they are not seasoned public speakers. I will also share it with my undergraduate and graduate student staff in the new programming manual I am creating to assist them with learning the art of event/programming organizing (to help them be mindful of the needs of the scholars, artists and performers that we contract). Also, I will also share it with students that I mentor who are learning the art of public speaking at symposiums and conferences as part of my student development/career development initiative.

    J. Vincent
    UMASS Amherst

  21. Thanks for sharing John. This is a great checklist! Some of my clients forget about all the little details involved in planning a speaking engagement and this will be a big help.

  22. John: I headed out this week to do a presentation, this checklist is very helpful. I am going to share it with some friends I have that are speakers also. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Good job, John.

    Please add special considerations for the hard of hearing people in your audience. Make sure the facility has tested the Assistive Listening Devices, offer CART (Live Captioning) or extra mics. Accessibility laws compliance is good business.

    • John Zimmer says:

      Thank you, Martha, for the comments. And thank you for the reminder about those who are hard of hearing. Point well taken.


      • ls says:

        We would like to say hi also from the CCAC (Martha is a member :-). The CCAC is an international all volunteer group to advocate for inclusion of quality captioning universally, and many organizing public speaking events are not aware of the issue – one in seven people globally have a hearing loss or are deaf or have acquired deafness over the years. That’s a significant number, 1/7, and the CCAC aims to help anyone find ways to include real time speech-to-text translation (projected on a screen for an audience). Thanks for listening, and keep up the good work, in Suisse, or wherever!

        LS/CCAC, http://www.ccacaptioning.org – We welcome all who support our mission, hearing or not, deaf or not.

        • John Zimmer says:

          Many thanks for the additional information and congratulations on the great work that you are doing. I encourage people to check out your website above and I will make a point of tweeting it to others.

          Best of luck with your important mission.


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  26. Clare Edwards says:

    Thanks so much John – will add a link on my website. I always forget the extension cable πŸ™‚

    • John Zimmer says:

      Thanks very much for sharing it with your readers, Clare. Delighted that the list will be on ChangeWorks. Even more delighted that you will never again forget the extension cable!


  27. Parul Banka says:

    Very useful! Thanks for sharing…. πŸ™‚

  28. cuchullainn says:

    Great tool, thank you for sharing. It is simple, but so much goes wrong in the simple details… I’m with Patricia… will add this to my resources page… (after I create the resources page πŸ˜‰ )

    • John Zimmer says:

      Thanks, Conor, much appreciated. You are spot on about the “simple details” which too often end up being anything but! Glad that you find the tool useful. I will continue to refine it as I get new ideas.



  29. Fabulous idea! I’m going to add a link from the resource page on my website.

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