Have you ever listened to and watched an amazing presentation? It may have been a keynote speech, breakout or maybe even a custom private workshop? What made the presentation so incredible?
Amazing events don't just happen, they are planned. Everything from the venue, ambiance, temperature in the rooms, snacks, drinks and the list goes on. These things all impact the success or failure of the event.
Same thing is true for a successful presentation. Incredible presentations don't just happen. Standing room only speakers aren't born, they are made after years of hard work and learning.
I speak and train all over the globe in both b2b and b2c markets. Prior to starting my own training and consulting agency, I spent 15+ years in corporate America working in startups to enterprise brands and focused mostly on enterprise technology, software, hardware and services.
I learned very early in my career the value of staying VERY close to the revenue, to never stop learning and to always share what I learned to empower others. This strategy helped me survive 13 major layoffs at one company alone.
While others on my corporate teams wanted to “hoard” the information for fear of losing their jobs or strategic positions within the company, I believed the opposite and that “a team is only as strong as it's weakest link.”
The best events and presentations happen when there is a magical synergy between the speaker, the audience and the event organizers and purpose.
Here are 8 foundational principles for speakers to ensure every presentation is a win win win for everyone – the audience, the event organizers and the speaker.
1. Serve Your Audience as #1 Priority
Your success as a speaker is not about you. It's not about your suit, your shoes, the revenue you make from the speaking engagement or how many people tweet about your content.
Success as a professional speaker roots in putting your audience first. How you connect with them personally and emotionally will make or break your success.
Your ability to empower, inspire, motivate and move your audience to real action that changes their mindset, business or life is what matters.
Think about your purpose as a speaker and be sure that everything you do is focused on one objective… serving your audience the most value possible!
When you serve your audience as the top priority, everyone is happy!
2. Know Your Audience
Do your research! Start researching your audience long before the day of the event. The better you know your audience before walking onto the stage, the better you can authentically serve and connect with them.
Research past events if the event organizer has hosted the same or similar events in the past. If this a first time event then check out similar industry events where a similar audience has attended.
Here are a few questions to get you started in knowing your audience:
- WHY they are attending the event. What do they hope to learn and achieve by attending the event. How many times have they attended the event?
- How do they use social media? What social networks are they using to communicate with other attendees, sponsors and event hosts? Do they utilize social media to share what they have learned?
- What hashtags are the attendees, sponsors and event organizers using? Hashtags provide incredible value in researching important topics, conversations and key influencers inside and surrounding the event community, both online and offline.
- What is the experience level of your audience? How does it compare to your presentation material? Make sure you speak and teach in language they can understand and enables them to connect with in a human way.
- Connect with other speakers at the event via the social channels. Reach out to them if you have ideas for collaboration or to brainstorm ways to best serve the audience, make sure your content doesn't overlap etc. Take a look at how they are personally engaging with the attendees and join the conversation if it feels right.
3. Partner With the Event Organizers From Day One
From the minute you start negotiating the contact to the post event follow up and post mortem, make sure you are partnered at the hip with the event organizers. You are in this together and the success for you both lies in the ability for you to drive a common set of objectives and goals.
Don't assume that the event organizer understands how to best leverage your influence, reach and industry knowledge and expertise. Share ideas with them for how you can best support their event and goals.
4. Give More Than You Take!
The more you can give the happier everyone will be! From day one be thinking… “how can I serve and give in a way that is unique and makes the audience and event organizers feel blown away with value!?”
As an example, when I speak at events I go all in! I always tell the event organizers that “I am all yours during the event.” This means I will attend their special dinners and networking events, key presentations from other speakers, visit with sponsors and be available for the media or in-house interviews at their request.
I will most always do video promotions before, during and after. I share my entire journey on social media to my audience of more than 2+ million across our social channels as I hop on the plane or car to travel to the event, attend the event and when I present on stage.
I also produce additional media and content pieces that incorporate conversations, the event hosts, sponsors and even attendees into my Social Zoom Factor podcast (with more than 1.6 million downloads to date), my blogs, posts to my LinkedIn network of more than 365,000 followers and 13,000 connections. I will often even send dedicated email announcements and updates to our email list of 50,000 members.
For example, I'm headed to the Indian Digital Marketing Awards and the TechManch Digital Conference in Mumbai, India this week. I created 3 professionally produced (yet casual and human) videos supplied to the event organizers to use however they wish. I shared a solo email to our email subscriber list, numerous social media posts and content mentions since the week we closed the contract. I'll continue to promote the event leading up to my arrival, time live at event and on-stage. I'll also share highlight of great content and insights learned and will then publish them in my media channels and content likely for months and years to come.
Bottom line, I pack in TONS of value for the events I speak at. I have done this for more than 10 years and these are services that are built into the DNA of our public and custom private speaking and training engagements.
5. Communicate and Work like a pro.
Communication is a foundation for success for any speaker. Stay on top of key dates, deadlines, travel needs and opportunities to build relationships. If you ignore the details until the last minute, you're guaranteed to fall down in at least one area you will regret. Trust me, I've learned this the hard way.
When it comes to communicating with event organizers, try to nail down the details as early in the engagement as possible. Obviously, their schedules usually get more crazy busy as the event gets closer. You don't want to be “that annoying speaker” who doesn't have their presentation deck finalized or forgot to book travel and now they have to consider your lack of planning an emergency on their part.
I always strive to be the easiest speaker with a servant heart to work with.
Communication is what will earn your return to future events and referrals to their network for additional speaking engagements.
If you know your schedule is jam packed and you can't communicate effectively on your own, delegate or hire out this responsibility. I am blessed that my partner in both business and life manages all of my speaker contracts from start to finish.
6. Leave them Wanting More
Leave both the audience and the event organizers wanting more. Make sure they all know that they have just seen the “tip of the iceberg” as it relates to the ways you can help them grow in business and or life!
Hopefully by now you have connected with them in a human way. You don't have to blast your email, Twitter handle, LinkedIn URL or spammy promotion 20 times throughout the presentation.
If they want to find you, they will. Focusing on making them WANT to find you vs teaching them HOW to find you. Trust me, this works like a magical charm.
7. Monitor Your Social Media Feed
Make sure you pay close attention to your social media feed and inbox prior to, during and after the event. Many attendees, sponsors and event organizers will communicate with you and promote you and your company on the social networks. Make sure you understand what hashtags they are using so you can monitor them.
Follow the event social handles and follow their lead in how they communicate with their audience.
However, remember many event organizers are still new to social media or they may not be as experienced leveraging it as a communications channel as you are. Take the lead and help get the conversation going strong with real value and deep interactions that will help the entire event community gain more value from the event.
8. Perfection is the enemy of good.
Embrace imperfect perfection. If there is one thing I've learned in my 25 years of working in marketing and communications… it's that marketing and communication will never be perfect, ever! Sometimes really good is good enough!
Accept the fact that your make-up, hair, attire, voice, presentation, stage presence will never be perfect. You are human. It's the human factor of YOU that your audience will fall in love with.
Be human and connect with your audience in an authentic and meaningful way. If you do this, you are likely miles ahead of most speakers in your industry and niche.
You got this!
- Audience Analysis Worksheet (worksheet to help you prioritize your niche)
- 2019 Content Marketing Editorial Calendar Template
- 2019 Content Marketing Calendar Quick Start Toolkit
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