Squeezing Value out of Speaking Opportunities

eventsSo you’ve managed to get yourself a speaking opportunity at a good conference, and have your name featured on the printed brochure and online.

Unfortunately, this is where the work starts!  If you want to make the most of each speaking opportunity, you need make sure you have everything in place in the run up to the day itself.

Here are our five top tips for sucking the marrow out of every speaking opportunity:

1. Write a compelling presentation

It sounds obvious, but if you want to engage the audience, you need to talk about something that’s going to resonate with them.  Think: what are the USPs of your presentation?  Would you want to listen to it? In my experience, the most popular presentations fall into one of two categories

  • either they cover something new and exciting, something that the audience hasn’t heard before, or
  • they are a frank, real-world story of the speaker’s experience in implementing something, whether it has or hasn’t worked.

Keep your slides to around 15-20 maximum and keep the corporate rhetoric to one short introductory slide.

2. Have a good online presence

If you are listed on the conference programme, delegates will definitely want to check you out online.

Make sure you are happy to be seen.  If you own your own business, make sure the web page is up to scratch and that your Linkedin presence is up to date.  If you are not on Linkedin, get on it!

If you are a social media animal, now might be a good time to start tweeting about the conference subject matter to attract followers and give a taster of what you will be talking about on the day

3. Link up

It can make a big difference at a conference if the speakers have connected beforehand – if not with each other, then at least with the chairman.

A good chair will often want to have a conference call or start an email discussion with some of the main speakers to make sure the presentations don’t cover the same thing.  You don’t need to wait for this to happen however, if you think there is a scheduled speaker who looks like they are covering something similar, get in touch and work out between you what to include.

On the day, make sure you always relate your talk back to the main conference theme…and it doesn’t hurt to reference speakers that have spoken before you either. It helps to tie different elements of the day together for the audience.

4. Get some speaker training

You may have spoken at events many times before with great feedback; in which case this piece of advice is probably not for you.

However, the great majority of us can learn something about how to deliver a presentation in a compelling manner, and there are plenty of short courses available. Delivery can make a huge difference in how your audience perceives your presentation.

5. Stay all day

Too many speakers rush in five minutes before their talk, deliver the presentation, then dash out the door again.  Remember: conferences are a great opportunity to get a bit of old-fashioned face-to-face contact with people.

Some of Klaxon’s best conversations and leads have started over coffee at an event.

And there’s nothing wrong with sticking around to hear other talks – as a speaker you probably got the ticket for free and you never know, you might learn something!

Tell us how you make the most of every conference speaking opportunity in the comments below.