How to get the X Factor into your next conference presentation

Sep 14
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 With over 12 years working in the conference industry I’ve seen hundreds of speakers come and go with varied styles and methods of presenting. Some completely blow the audience away while others to be honest, send the audience to sleep.

Some of the best speakers exude an ‘X factor’, so I thought I’d share some of the ingredients of the best speakers I’ve seen over the years. 

  1. Preparation pays off
    Arrive early, check out the conference room and stage, get comfortable with the surroundings and give your presentation to the organisers early for a smooth transition when you take the stage. 
  2. Use an expressive voice
    Practice and play it back to yourself to make sure you use an expressive voice. Don’t kill an interesting presentation with a monotone voice.
  3. Keep your audience in mind...not you
    When creating your presentation what is it your audience wants to learn from you and your unique experience? Make sure attendees get something of value from what you’ve got to say.
  4. Tell a compelling story, don’t just read off of your cue cards 
    Stories help your audience ‘feel and see’ what you’re saying. By telling a story you’ll create something that will more easily be remembered. Here’s a related post with tips on ‘How to say more with less’
  5. Be humble and willing to tell the whole story – warts and all. Be open to sharing something personal from your journey. What was the turning point? What you wish you had known when you started? What surprised you the most from the planning through to the implementation? What wouldn’t you do without next time?
  6. Don’t bore your audience with excessive PowerPoint slides. Use images to compliment your stories and keep text minimal and a large enough font. Delegates at the back of a room need to be able to read it.
  7. Create an ‘aha’ moment – By creating an ‘aha moment’ you can drive home the main point of your presentation in the most memorable way. This is what people will talk about when they go back to the office. 
  8. Don’t get tied to the lectern
    The more you walk, as long as it seems purposeful the more confident, authoritative and comfortable you’ll seem. Move across the stage and share the love to the entire room
  9. Make it interactive and involve your audience
    Even a simple show of hands can make for interesting content. You can also prepare questions in advance for the organisers to ask you if you’ve got the time up your sleeve or your audience is a quiet one
  10. Don’t use a presentation as a sales pitch
    Delegates don’t come to hear sales pitches. So listen up sponsors…This is your opportunity to share a success story, or provide a real solution to a problem the delegate face, not a sales pitch. You could also get a client involved, that makes for a compelling story! Here’s some more Tips to get the most ROI from your event sponsorship
  11. Connect with your audience on social networks 
    Conferences are great for building your networks of contacts. so make sure you invite all the attendees to connect on your social networks. They might want to talk to you more about your story. Here’s 8 more networking tips to use at your next conference 
What do you think makes for a great presentation? What have you seen that’s great or not so great?

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Submitted by John Burgher, Marketing Director, Criterion Conferences

John Burgher, Marketing Director, Criterion Conferences

John is a Marketing Director with over 12 years of B2B experience in the UK, Asia and Australia. He’s an ideas guy, foodie and a gadget geek who is always looking for the next ‘big thing’. If John had a super power he would love to plug into the matrix, and become superhuman. You connect with John on Linkedin

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