9 Tips To Become an Effective Speaker at Events and Conferences.
With event season ramping up again, I’m sure many of you have session proposals and conference speaking gigs on your radar. Public speaking at industry gatherings is such a great way to build your professional brand and network. But I know it can also feel super intimidating at first.
Speaking at events and conferences is an incredible opportunity to share your knowledge, inspire others, and make a lasting impact. Whether you’re a seasoned speaker or just starting out, there are always ways to enhance your skills and become more effective in engaging your audience.
In this article, we will explore nine valuable tips to help you become an exceptional speaker at events and conferences. Have a great read.
1. Thorough Preparation is Key.
Great speakers are not born; they are made through diligent preparation. Take the time to thoroughly research your topic, gather relevant information, and organize your thoughts.
Once that’s done, you can go ahead to create a well-structured outline or script for your speech, ensuring a logical flow of ideas. Practice your delivery multiple times to improve your confidence and ensure a smooth presentation.
2. Know Your Audience.
Knowing your audience is key to delivering a captivating and impactful speech. Just like Marie Forleo, the speaker and entrepreneur, advises, take a moment to dig into your audience’s demographics, interests, and knowledge.
Look at the event website and marketing materials to get a sense of attendees’ demographics, job roles, and the types of companies represented. This insight will help you choose a topic audience members truly want to hear about.
This way, you can customize your content, language, and examples to really connect with them. Think about what they want and expect, and strive to offer valuable insights that’ll leave a lasting impression.
3. Start with a Strong Opening.
The first few moments of your speech are crucial for capturing your audience’s attention. Begin with a strong and attention-grabbing opening that sparks curiosity or emotion. You can use an anecdote, a surprising fact, a thought-provoking question, a powerful quote, or a joke.
By starting off on a high note, you set the tone for the rest of your presentation, and trust me when I say your audience won’t forget your speech in a hurry.
4. Utilize Visual Aids.
Visual aids can really amp up your presentation and make complex information easier to understand. Add in some cool slides, graphs, or props that are visually appealing and support your main points.
Just remember, don’t go overboard with the visuals. They should enhance your speech, not steal the show. Keep your visuals simple, clean, and easy to grasp.
5. Engage with Body Language.
Your body language plays a significant role in how your audience perceives you and connects with your message.
Stand tall, maintain eye contact, and use natural gestures to convey confidence and authenticity. Be mindful of your posture and facial expressions. Move around the stage or podium to establish a connection with different sections of the audience.
As a public speaker myself, I can tell from experience that this makes you feel less nervous and projects an engaging presence that will keep your audience captivated throughout your speech.
6. Tell Compelling Stories.
Stories have a powerful impact on people. So, why not include relevant and compelling stories in your speech? They make your content more relatable and memorable.
You can share personal anecdotes, case studies, or examples from your own experiences to illustrate your points and create an emotional connection with your audience. Just craft your stories with vivid details and emotions to keep your audience engaged and inspired.
I mean, I’ve watched TED Talks, which made me teary-eyed. That’s the power of storytelling.
7. Pace Yourself and Speak Clearly.
Speaking at an appropriate pace is essential for clarity and comprehension. Avoid rushing through your words or speaking too slowly. Practice enunciating clearly and varying your tone to maintain interest.
Use pauses strategically to emphasize key points, allow for audience reflection, and create a sense of anticipation. However, avoid using any filler words like “um” or “ah,” which might make you sound uncertain or unprepared. Be mindful of your volume and pitch, but ensure you are audible enough so that everyone in the audience can hear you clearly.
8. Highlight Your Experience and Expertise.
When presenting, position yourself as a credible expert. Emphasize qualifications like relevant case studies, career successes, and lessons learned. Sharing “aha moments” from your professional journey proves your qualifications to speak on the topic.
Research typical conference speaker fees so you can confidently address payment expectations during initial discussions with organizers. Bringing up reasonable compensation rates early avoids future surprises or misunderstandings related to payment for your valuable time and expertise.
Highlighting what makes you uniquely qualified to speak while also knowing your worth sets the right tone from the start. Conference organizers are usually selecting presenters 4-6 months in advance. Be proactive by setting calendar reminders for speaker submission deadlines.
9. Seek Feedback and Continuously Improve.
Feedback is such a valuable tool for growth and improvement. So, after your speech, it’s a great idea to reach out to event organizers, colleagues, or even trusted individuals in your network. Just ask them for some specific feedback on your delivery, content, and overall impact.
Take some time to reflect on all the feedback you receive and identify those areas where you can improve. And hey, you can always keep refining your speaking skills by attending workshops, joining speaking clubs, or even working with a speaking coach.
Remember, embracing a growth mindset and constantly striving to become a better speaker is key.
Developing your public speaking skills and delivering great presentations doesn’t just happen overnight. It requires careful preparation, practice, and hard work. However, by following the steps outlined in this article, you can take meaningful steps towards becoming a great speaker. From crafting an engaging storyline to seeking feedback and continuously improving, these steps can help you achieve your goal of becoming a powerful public speaker.
The most important thing is to take every opportunity to share your knowledge and inspire others with your words with open arms, no matter how big or small the stage is. The world wants to hear you.