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Lots of folks in my generation admire Vince Lombardi. He was a great motivator. He also gave good advice that can cross disciplines.
One piece of advice doesn’t come from Lombardi but rather comes from an anecdote about Lombardi from his star quarterback – Bart Starr.
That advice is good for the professional speaker as well as the cruise ship lecturer.
Starr said of Lombardi, “If you show up for one of his lectures on time, then you are late.”
Lombardi required his players to be early, to be ready to be taught when the time came.
On board lecturers who are required to be on stage at 2 cannot, must not show up at 2.
How early? That depends on the props you are using and your need for technical assistance.
30 minutes before you start talking is not too early. In most cases the support staff will not even be there until 15-20 minutes before. And sometimes later than that.
I go early, walk the stage, sit in different seats to get an idea of what the audience is seeing from their perspective. I check the lighting. I even strike up conversations with people who seem to be just wandering, maybe looking for something to do.
I might even say things out loud to get an idea of the acoustics in case my sound doesn’t work.
There’s a lot of things you can do if/when you show up early.
But if you show up on time, you’re late.
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