I love going to conferences.
And today I went to one that could use some improvement.
It is one of my favorite things to hear speakers who have a well prepared and supported message. Their presentations bring new ideas to my mind and challenge beliefs I’ve held.
In addition, conferences provide the perfect opportunity to rub shoulders with other individuals who are actively pursuing their interests.
I’ve been to over 20 conferences.
And although I’m no expert I can definitely identify qualities that make a speakers presentation worthwhile to me.
Important ideas go first. It’s easy to become distracted. Prepared speakers realize that the audience’s interest peaks early in the talk. Presenting the ‘big idea’ at the beginning allows for everyone to grasp the initial concept and the remaining time to explain the details. This provides an additional benefit of allowing some flexibility for the presenter. If you run out of time you have already delivered your main point.
Never go over time. Keeping your presentation down to the limited time available is undoubtedly a challenge. But for the overall good of the convention, things running on time and for the ease of the organizers do NOT go over time. Think ahead by factoring in a question and answer period into your presentation.
Frequently recall your logical flow. If you have a claim make sure to have evidence backing it up. And make sure to clearly site that evidence.
Speak clearly and with enthusiasm. Even the best subjects are insufferable when the speaker is bad. Don’t be an Einstein with a monotonous voice. It actually pains my heart to see incredibly intelligent people who are unable to get their message across because they can not speak with enthusiasm or engage their audience.
Interact. The audience is your instrument you must simply learn how to play it. Getting some interaction from your audience can completely change the energy in the room and secure their attention.
I will continue my conference journey and add to this list as my experience continues.