Public speaking especially conference presentations can be one of your most effective marketing techniques as a small business. There are many best practices to follow, but these ten tips will help you nail your next conference presentation and have the crowd shouting for more! Follow these ten tips to create flawless conference presentations and overcome your public speaking jitters. This advice will help you never get nervous again.
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1. Over-Prepare Your Conference Presentation
As a conference presenter, you are not just a pretty face. You’re called to be an expert in front of peers. It’s important that you select a topic that you can ace. You want to be sure you’re ready to handle not just content, but the questions that can come up from a group for keeping everyone in the room entertained. You can only do this successfully if you are equipped with superb presentation slides. Not only should the content of the conference presentation be strong and insightful, engaging and interactive, but your delivery style should also meet your audiences’ expectations.
2. Begin At The End: Reverse Engineer Conference Presentation
Put yourself in the shoes of the listener. First, think of ways the presentation will provide enough key takeaway points that attendees can use. Your speech should be prepared in such a way that you can give the listeners some key takeaway points to think about and use later on. The lengthy discussion should give the listeners something they can take back to work and incorporate into their daily routines.
3. Use Quotes & Examples To Engage
One of the best triggers to re-focus your audience is to use quotes, case studies and/or examples. Personal stories and examples pique the audience’s interest and compel them to think. Another way to engage your audience with the content of your conference presentation is to use a few quotes within the context of your presentation. These tend to stimulate though and enhance engagement and at the same time, make your audience want to learn more. Your audience is here to gain further knowledge on the topic, so using quotes and examples is a great way to ensure you give them what they want.
4. The 49-51 Rule
The 49/51% rule simplifies everything that happens to you at any moment in life. The numbers in the split are arbitrary (they could be 40/60, 25/75 or whatever). But notice that one number is always higher than the other indicating that each has an influence on the other. And both numbers add up to 100.
So let’s look at an example of this rule in action. We’ll refer to your experience in the moment you read this post. As you read this article 49% of your experience is inside of you (you are reading, processing, taking it all in, agreeing or disagreeing, and taking what you wish through a series of thoughts and meta decisions). And the other 51% of your experience is outside of you (maybe you’re sitting in your car at pickup, or cooking dinner, on a train, or at your desk). But if something happens outside of you, (the train lurches, your son hops into the car, etc.) it will affect your experience with the article. In fact, you may not be able to return to the state of concentration you have right now.
So, as a conference presenter, all eyes are on you. 49% of your experience and delivery will be inside of you, including your thoughts, emotions, and feelings about your presentation as you go along. Then, based on your performance. As a result, you are responsible for educating and keeping your audience entertained. To do this successfully you’ll need to not only know your stuff but you’ll also want a polished, professional conference presentation. Not only should the content of the conference presentation be strong and insightful but your delivery should engage and delight your audience. Hence, the art of successful conference speaking relies upon the 49-51 rule.
Regardless of the number split, they both add up to 100. And, that means you’re 100% responsible for whatever is going on in your presentation room regardless of what happens. I’ve experienced fire alarms, bomb threats, and the stomach flu from the podium during different conference presentations. And, they were real opportunities for derailment! But, knowing my content, relying on my preparation, taking charge and adapting the presentation for the time that remained was key to keeping it together (49%) and on track for the participants (51%).
Knowing this rule helps you navigate tough situations and determine where you’re going to take the presentation. You have all of the controls at your fingertips. It’s kind of like having a keyboard and a computer in front of you. The keyboard and computer can’t do anything unless you begin typing information. And both are useless without a programmer. When you’re a presenter, you’re the programmer! Preparing yourself for the 51%, 49% Rule will be key to your success.
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5. Prepare 1-2 Slides For Each Piece of Content
I’ve been told I’m a ‘fat writer’. No, it wasn’t a ‘fat joke’… but it was an observation about my verbosity. This then is something with which I tend to struggle. I want to over deliver, but conference presentations usually only last for an hour. Since you are responsible for setting the pace of the presentation, it is important to be mindful of overload! I’ve seen hour-long presentations with 60 slides, and I’ve seen day long workshops with 2 sheets of paper and no slides at all. However, if you are not sure how many slides you need, limit your content to two slides at most for each point. In this way, your presentation will remain ‘thin’, and it will not begin to bore the audience.
6. Size Matters! Create Easy To Read Slides
Depending on the size of the conference, your listeners will be reading the slides off the screen. To make sure people in the last row are able to see everything clearly, test the legibility of your presentation right from the start. The best way to do this is to de-clutter the presentation, use bullet points and one-liners instead of lengthy paragraphs. Also, sit six feet away from your laptop screen to ensure the fonts are readable and clear.
Size matters. A good rule of thumb is to never exceed the 6×6 rule on projected words. 6 lines, no more than 6 words each line. And, if you are presenting in front of a large crowd for the very first time, fewer words are better than more. In large groups, it will be hard to see details so the bigger the better.
7. Select the Right Typeface
Believe it or not, the size font of your slides matters and can definitely make a difference. It’s important to make your font ‘go with’ your presentation, although you can let your creativity take charge. It’s important to manage the experience from start to finish and fonts matter! When preparing, experiment with serif or sans fonts in different sizes, colors, and styles but be consistent. Too many font changes can make anything hard to read. Some popular typefaces used by professional presenters are Helvetica, Museo, Archer, Tahoe and Gotham. When deciding the typeface, stay on the theme and design of your presentation.
8. Create a Signature Talk Free Offer
Even though most conference rules forbid ‘selling’ from the stage, seasoned presenters can create an engaging strategy and invite people to follow them on social media or to join their newsletter list. It’s important to think about your content in a consumable way. Then, you can always create something as a valuable free offer for attendees. Making something valuable has to do with its usability after the session is over. Often I’ll create a tip sheet, template or planning tool to help people after the session. And, I’ll invite them to download it from my website. This accomplishes two things. First, by downloading something, they become familiar with my website, and when they download it, they actually share their email address. When I have permission, I add them to my email list and can continue to market to them.
9. Set Realistic Expectations
Everyone is human and mistakes are unavoidable. Be realistic in your expectations. Conference speaking is somewhat of a performance, but the better your content and approach, the more you are able to overcome anything that could be a setback. Do not pressure yourself into flawless presentations at first. If you set unrealistic expectations your very first time out, you may run into trouble and be discouraged. A bad experience could throw you over and make it hard to recover and do it again. And, since it’s the very best way to market your business, I wouldn’t want to see you quit before you even begin. Setting realistic expectations and planning shortened versions of your content just in case will help you overcome any hurdles.
10. Manage Your Energy
Often conference presenters are also attendees. But, with all the hype, energy, and opportunities available at conferences, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Because of this, it’s critical for you to take steps to manage your energy throughout the conference. First, get a schedule and plan your necessaries. You’re going to want to pre-determine when and where will you eat, rest and relax to be sure you are ready for your presentation. Once you arrange for these critical appointments in your schedule, you can decide additional topics to attend. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to prepare prior to your session! Anything can go wrong and often will. But if you show up well-rested, and fully prepared, Murphy’s Law won’t get you down!
The best way to curb any of your fears of public speaking and anxiety is just to practice until you are comfortable. Follow these 10 tips to create flawless conference presentations and overcome public speaking jitters. Public Speaking is the most effective way to market.
If you’d like help creating your conference presentation or Signature Talk, schedule a complimentary, no-obligation Discovery Call with me today. We can talk about your upcoming event, help you overcome your fears and create that signature talk you’ve been brewing!