If you ever get the opportunity to speak at a conference about your business or the latest trends in your industry—take it! Whether it’s a small seminar in your community or a weekend-long event in a big city, conferences are a great way to spread a little of your knowledge and expertise in the name of your brand.
While you prepare your presentation for your next speaking opportunity, here are a few tips to effectively educate and inspire your audience:
Review the attendee list. Before you try to provide your audience with useful information about your brand, it’s helpful to first see who the audience is. If RSVP’s aren’t sent directly to you, ask the person who receives them for a copy of the list. Knowing who is going to be in attendance will help you set the right tone for your presentation, and ensure that you are neither talking above or below your attendees.
Have an A/V back-up plan. If you intend to use audio or visual equipment to support your presentation, it is best to make sure everything is in working order beforehand. If you cannot visit the venue in advance, contact the tech department and ask which file formats work best on their equipment. Also, be ready to present your media in different forms, such as on a flash drive or from a Dropbox account. You’ve worked hard to create an impressive presentation—you want your audience to see it!
Be timely and on topic. Conference attendees listen to your presentation because they feel you have something valuable to say. Don’t let them down! When you ramble too long or stray too far from the proposed topic, your audience may leave feeling confused and disappointed – and if your presentation is a flop, it will reflect on your brand, which may hurt the possibility of generating new leads. Exceed your audience’s expectations, but only within the time allotted and in unity with the intended subject matter.
Give your audience a valuable takeaway. When the presentation is over and your PowerPoint is unplugged, leave your audience with a physical or electronic way to hold on to the valuable insight you provided. Offer them a link to download your slides, for instance, or hand out copies of your latest white paper. These free resources are a great way to keep your name (and your brand) in your audience’s mind, even after the presentation is concluded.
Follow up with the attendees. It is very important that you do not become a faded memory after your audience members return to their offices. Whether it’s a quick email to thank them for their attendance, or an offer of electronic access to your business resources, make contact with every attendee shortly after the conference. It also doesn’t hurt to provide more information on topics they were particularly interested in, or let them know if you will be speaking at an upcoming event. These are great examples of ways to reach out and extend the impact of your brand while making a personal connection with possible leads.
Remember, your presentation is not only going to reflect on you as a speaker, but also reveal a lot about your brand. Thorough preparation is key to get the most out of your next speaking opportunity, and to make sure your audience sees value in your brand.