In this video we discuss how to be prepared when
speaking at a senior living community
It’s always exciting to get asked to speak. Especially when you have been trying to get into a relationship with a particular senior community – now they’ve reached out to collaborate. Before you get too excited, however, stop and think about a few things that will help make this a mutually successful opportunity.
Type of community
What type of community is asking you to deliver a program? Is it an independent living community, assisted living, or is it a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)? The community type will affect topic selection and marketing.
Style of program
What type of program are they requesting? Do they want you to present, host a panel discussion, or be part of an existing program with other speakers? If you are going to be speaking alongside others, you will want to know who they are and what their subject matter expertise involves. How much time is allocated to your particular part of the program?
Who is putting it together
It’s very important to understand whether you are putting the program together or if they are organizing it. In other words, are they asking you to simply show up and speak or are they asking you to handle the details like assembling a panel of experts, preparing the marketing, etc.
Marketing and promotion
Determine what their expectations and/or plans include for promoting the event? Is being handled locally or is there a corporate office somewhere that is leading the charge? What is their goal for attendance and do they have a track record to indicate their goals are within reason. Will you get to see a draft of anything that goes out with your name and photo?
Where will the program be held? Will you be presenting in a dining room, chapel, classroom, activity room, etc.? Request a time to see the venue in advance so you can mentally rehearse with that space in mind.
A few more tips for after the program is planned…
- It’s always good to have a professional headshot, a bio, and a short introduction written so that they have the correct spelling of your name, your title and/or credentials, contact information, and any state specific requirements for licensees.
- Remember that not all communities are good at putting on events. A few are great – usually CCRC’s – because they have staff and are used to larger events. Independent and assisted are not generally as well staffed and so things can fall through the cracks. Be sure to stay in touch regularly to make sure marketing deadlines are met.
- Always be prepared for staff changes between the time they invite you to speak and the actual program. The baton doesn’t always get passed to the next person.
- The day before the program, make sure you call to confirm and find out how many will be attending. They may have been hoping for 50 but only have 5.
- On the day of the program, be sure to arrive 30 min to 1 hour early just in case there are last minute changes or attendees come early – happens a lot.
- Don’t be surprised if the person who invited you to speak introduces you and then leaves the room. I am not sure why they do this because they are often the ones who really need to hear what you are talking about.
- Always provide a handout and an evaluation form for attendees to fill out when you are finished. Since the registration list is not yours, this is the participants opportunity to let you know it’s ok to contact them about other programs you might be doing.
- Of course you will want to send a thank you note to the community representative for hosting or including you in the program.