As your career grows, you may start having to speak at events, whether it’s to accept an award, join a panel with your peers, or speak as the keynote speaker at a big conference. Speaking at events or trade shows can be a great way to get your brand out into the spotlight. Speaking at events should be a win/win situation for everyone; the speaker, the event organizer, and the attendees. These tips will help you to make the most of a speaking gig.
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- Confirm your role. Are you speaking alongside other people? Are you on a panel with other speakers? Confirm with the event hosts what is actually expected of you so you can properly prepare. Will you need to rehearse with other speakers? Find out who else will be on the panel with you if you’re doing a panel, so you can research your fellow speakers before you arrive. A specialist like Elite Lawyer Management can help you to book relevant speaking gigs and find out what’s best for you.
- Focus on the purpose of your presentation. Have you been asked to educate and inform on issues and to share your skillset and area of expertise? Do delegates want a broader discourse about industry topics and trends?
- Communicate with the host. The host will be writing the synopsis of your session, so you need to make sure that you are on the same page, so they can get everything correct and accurately communicate what you will do.
- Know your audience. Research who will be there listening to your presentation. Do this whether you’ll be talking to one person or a room of a thousand. This will mean you understand what their concerns are about your topic, what their level of expertise is, and what their background is. This will help you to pitch your message in the right way. If you can, talk to potential members of your audience is the best way to find out what they’re expecting and hoping for from you.
- Breathe. Before you go out on stage, do some simple breathing exercises to help you to focus and relax. Take a deep breath, hold it for five counts, then exhale slowly. Repeat this a few times. You might feel a bit silly, but this is a very effective way to ease any nerves or tension.
- Take it slow. If you’re nervous, you might rush or stumble over your words, which will make your speech less effective. Practice your presentation, and tap your leg every time you say a word. This trick helps you to tell how fast you’re speaking, as it can be surprisingly tricky to judge this for yourself. If you’re rushing, remember to take a breath. Pauses are ok.
- Don’t hide. If you’re speaking from a podium, don’t hide behind it. Stay standing upright, with open posture. Crossing your arms will construct your lungs and look less confident. Plant your feet on the ground instead, keep your shoulders down and stay relaxed.