Working the podium at conferences
Pick a topic, develop a few slides, rehearse a few times and it’ll be fine, right?
While you might get the message across and it might even seem interesting, are you really getting full value from this exposure?
If you’ve had to pay for the privilege of speaking, you want to ensure that you have squeezed every ounce of exposure out of the experience.
Here are 6 TIPS to ensure that you work the room to its full potential.
1. First of all, make sure your presentation is up to scratch – With all of the tools available within products such as Powerpoint and Prezi, it is not difficult to make a presentation go from drab to amazing. Where possible, try to include video clips or high-resolution images and cut down the number of words as much as possible. Make your presentation as interesting as possible.
2. Next on the list is the length of your presentation – While the conference organisers will usually allocate a length of time for you to speak, it is wise to remember the adage that you should stop speaking before they stop listening! If you have 20 minutes but your practice run only goes for 16 minutes, don’t worry about it. The audience will appreciate you for not throwing in an additional 4 minutes of buffering material, just for the sake of it.
3. Practice, practice, practice – When you hit the stage, you should know the presentation material inside out and back to front. I don’t mean being able to read the bullet points in order. A good presenter tells a story and uses the presentation slides as prompts, not as the main event.
4. Deliver it with confidence – When you step up to the podium, you are probably the most knowledgeable person in the room when it comes to your content or your company. Avoid the umms and aahs and be full of confidence when delivering the presentation. You have every right to be confident.
5. Be available after the presentation – It staggers me that some presenters arrive 30 minutes before their speaking spot, give the presentation and then bolt out the back door. You never know who is waiting on the sidelines to have a chat. It could be an investor, acquirer or media keen to explore further.
6. While we’re on media, reach out to them in the first place – The media’s expertise is covering stories and circulating those stories broadly. Find out from the organisers which media outlets are going to be at the conference and try to arrange a side interview to expand your level of exposure.
It may be that this conference presentation is the first opportunity that some in the audience have had to hear about your company. As the saying goes, it only takes one connection to change your fortune. Spend the extra time and effort to ensure that your key connection is captivated – and they are not finding their phones more interesting than you.