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What’s your top priority when giving a speech?

by | Sep 27, 2022 | 2 comments

The Options

Your multiple choice answers include:

  1. Gain the audience’s attention
  2. Establish rapport with your listeners
  3. Add “credibility sprinkles” to increase your “trust index”
  4. Tell your team your ROI – what’s in it for them

Hard to choose. All of the above are crucial for your success as a presenter.

But… one other item goes at the very top.

Karen with Carol Kozloski @ BNSF Railway Workshop

Thank you, BNSF Railway and Carol Kozloski, for modeling that Top Priority Item when I presented my workshop to your BNSF Railway team.

The Answer

Safety. Safety comes first above all other matters. For the first 10 minutes, BEFORE I was introduced, Carol shared safety protocol precautions.

The Protocol

1st – Carol shared where the exits were and where we would go if we were to be evacuated.

2nd – Carol appointed a CPR certified attendee that would be ready to provide CPR if necessary.

3rd – Carol appointed someone else to be the 911 phone caller if needed. NOTE: if you don’t appoint this one person, then everyone might be calling 911 creating more chaos.

4th – Later on, in our ½ day program, the CPR appointee had to leave and another person was designated.

The Outcome

Fortunately we did not need to use these safety measures. But I’ve never felt safer.

Emergencies I’ve experienced during other speaking engagements:

  • An audience member faints, falling on the floor needing medical assistance.
  • Fire alarms going off.
  • Power outages.

Your responsibility as the presenter

My client showed the way for a safe and successful morning. However, in my 25+ years of speaking all over the place, this was my first time to observe excellent safety precautions shared in advance.

Your responsibility as the speaker/leader (when you don’t have the brilliance of my BNSF Railway client) is to coordinate with your meeting organizer (if there is one) OR do your own Safety Protocol Plan prior to your event using the list above. Because YOU are the one on the stage with the mic.

#communication  #SpeakForYourself  #KarenCortellReisman  #PresenterSafetyProtocols


  1. Kay Hickey

    Interesting! I would have not thought of this. Great info!

    • Karen Cortell Reisman

      Kay – since you do speak on behalf of your business, this is great intel! I’m glad this info on safety protocols is useful AND I hope you never need to use the info. Thanks for your feedback, Karen

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