Adrianne Machina, Marketing Consultant & Speaker

I grew up in a household where Murphy’s Law was quoted with great regularity. “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong,” my mother would chide. It’s not surprising then that I come prepared – in general, but especially to my speaking engagements.

For most of us, public speaking is already somewhat nerve-wracking. Add a mini-disaster to the mix and you can easily send yourself into a full-blown anxiety attack. That is not the professional, polished image we want to present – so to avert that, it’s best to come prepared. My solution was to create a Speaker’s Emergency Kit. I have this just sitting on my closet shelf ready to grab for the next speaking opportunity. Don’t wait until the last minute to assemble this kit.  You’ll be too busy preparing and practicing your speech. Grab an envelope or small box and start putting this speaker’s kit together now.

Here’s what I pack in my Speaker’s Emergency Kit:
• Safety Pins – Yes, I have lost a button 10 minutes before going
on stage. A safety pin will help keep your Victoria’s Secret a
• Cough Drops – A little nervousness = dry mouth. Cough drops
• Breath Mints – Need I expand?
• Raw Almonds – If I’m doing an all-day training, I need protein
to keep my energy high. Plus almonds keep me away from the conference
• Baby Wipes – These work miracles if you spill coffee on your
clothing – and they clean your hands quickly if you succumb to the
lure of the conference pastries.
• Dry Erase Markers – I know mine still have ink in them.
• Black Sharpie – I actually carry this with me every day. Very
useful in surprising ways!
• Backup Business Cards – Of course, I always pack business cards
and marketing collateral to a speaking gig, but these backup business
cards just stay in my speaker’s kit in case my materials get
• Tape & White Paper –You never know when you need an impromptu
• Presentation Remote with Spare Batteries– Surprisingly, not
everyone provides the handheld mouse pointer that advances your slides
remotely. Even if they do, there’s no guarantee it’ll work with
your computer. I prefer to bring my own.
• Extra Pens – Attendees often forget to bring their own pens. I
like to have extras I can share.

In addition to the Speaker’s Emergency Kit that I grab to come to any speaking engagement, I also make sure to prepare for the unexpected. If my presentation requires an internet connection to show a website or software, I always grab a screen capture or make a short video that could substitute in a pinch. I also print out copies of all my slides. That way, if my computer or the projector fails, I can carry on with confidence!

Do you have a Speaker’s Emergency Kit? What do you pack? What am I missing?

Adrianne Machina is a marketing consultant, speaker, and partner in The Art of Online Marketing. She has spent the last 20 years helping businesses systematically grow their businesses. Audiences appreciate her dry wit and down-to-earth style as they learn to differentiate from their competitors and draw in their best prospects.