When you are a professional speaker (or when you are looking to become one), you often have an arsenal of topics that you can speak on, all of which revolve around a common theme. Usually this theme is based on your background, education, or experience, and is the thing for which you become best known. For example, Tony Robbins is known as one of the world’s top motivational speakers, though he has different talks that he gives based on what the group who is hiring him wants to hear. At a conference on environmental initiatives Tony Robbins might not be your go-to man, but David Suzuki sure would be! And though most speakers speak on one general topic, they have several versions of their presentations that can be customized for the audience at hand.
Recently the Young Professionals Association here in Sudbury kicked off our “Adulting 101” seminar series, and I was thrilled to be asked to be the first speaker! When I thought about the topic on which I wanted to educate my audience, I decided to use a workshop I had given a few months before at the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce. This workshop is all about Carrying and Presenting Yourself in Business, which the YPA board agreed was fitting for its membership. Great, topic decided! Now what?
I couldn’t use exactly the same PowerPoint I had used for the Chamber’s event (for one, it said “A Chamber U Workshop” on the title slide), because this was a very different audience. These were young professionals I was talking to, so I had to get on the same playing field as them. I had to make some changes throughout the seminar to include aspects that are more focused toward what my audience could relate to: more focus on digital communication and less focus on communication by phone, for example.
I also had to make logistical adjustments to my seminar as originally this was built to be a 90-minute workshop and I only had about 45 minutes this time. A few subtopics were removed and others condensed. But I always made sure to keep the focus of my seminar and not to remove information that was pertinent.
This time around, I had to send the PowerPoint to my contact in advance of my seminar, and I was not able to plug in my own computer (as I usually prefer to do). This meant that I was going to lose the specialized fonts that I purchased specifically for my business, and PowerPoint was automatically going to change them to default fonts. This has happened before and often comes with formatting changes too, so I was sure to edit this before sending in my slides.
There is nothing wrong with repurposing a talk or presentation, provided that your audience is different. After all, there are only so many topics on which each of us is an expert, and giving exactly the same presentation time and time again is extremely redundant. Not only does it begin to bore you but if by chance there are people in your audience who were there last time, it will bore them as well. Just like you would with old furniture or décor, when reusing something old, give it a little dusting, a coat of paint, and a modern makeover before putting it back into circulation.