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by Allen J. Sheinman | April 01, 2010

At all stages of your career, you need to sell yourself, your ideas, your value and your ability. As a meeting planner, you might find yourself defending the need for an event, presenting return on investment for an initiative or making a case to higher-ups for a bigger budget. In all such cases, it helps to have some public-speaking skills. M&C asked Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE (fripp.com/art.present.html), a sales presentation trainer, keynote speaker and executive speech coach, for some advice.

Open with conclusions. Don't make your senior-level audience wait to find out why you are there.

Describe the benefits. Spell out what you expect the company to gain by your recommendations; make these pluses seem vivid and obtainable.

Reveal the costs. Frame expenses in a positive manner by detailing the anticipated return on investment. If possible, show how not following your recommendations could cost the company even more.

Present an action plan. Be prepared and concise as you state your case. If you provide wandering generalities, you will lose your audience's interest.