I had a speech that I enjoyed giving. And I practiced it a lot. But there was one more thing I did to prepare: "Studio" setup.
To turn the home office / basement entertainment room into my studio I needed to know a few things:
I needed to know where to put the tripod.
I needed to know where to look when having the "conversation" with Beth. When I spoke to her I looked at this Lipton tea bottle.
When it was Beth speaking to me, I looked at this Lipton tea bottle.
I tried different things, but the Lipton tea bottles were clearly out of place and therefore easy to find.
Finally, I needed to know where my main position was (large green tape), my lean in position was (small green tape) and what my working speaking area was (green tape triangle).
I put those items down a week or more ago. Then I practiced without looking (this involved counting steps to make sure I was in the right spot).
Oh... and then there was the white board in case I got stuck. This isn't a luxury we normally get in speech contests...
In addition, we had the "Peru blanket" on the couch, which was in fact a sweater from Peru - one my in-laws brought home for Beth a few years ago. Beth also has a sweater that Tom and I brought home, but this one matched the couch and background better.
Finally, no speech is complete without my lucky Cleveland Indians socks!