Delivering a Superb Conference Talk
High profile speaking engagements are great opportunities to showcase your communication skills and expertise to your colleagues and other thought leaders. How you prepare for such events is key in ensuring you convey confidence and authority without losing your sense of authenticity. Conferences often draw a very diverse crowd in terms of experience level, areas of knowledge, and overall goals for attending the event. As a speaker, it is your responsibility to find ways to appeal to all audience members in a way that is clear, engaging, and motivates them to action. Speaking at a conference is your time to showcase your business communication skills to the world.
Here are the top four preparation strategies our communication consultants recommend you use when approaching your next speaking engagement.
- Pay attention to your appearance. This may go without saying, but it is important to consider how your dress will be perceived. Most conferences are business professional settings and as a speaker, you should follow standard attire guidelines. You want to elicit the right impression from your audience. Consider if you will be speaking at a podium, behind a table, or standing on a stage. Thinking about how you will make the most of your environment can be a great way to plan your attire accordingly. If you want to walk through the audience as you speak, then comfortable shoes and clothing will be a must. If instead you are seated behind a table or standing behind a podium, be sure your upper body garments are not too restrictive and will allow you to sit naturally or stand for a prolonged period of time. Also be mindful of hem lengths and footwear choices as they may be very apparent.
- Craft a powerful message. Find ways to learn more about your audience and use this information to guide your talk. In most cases, the audience profile may be more varied than if you were conducting a sales meeting or leading a talk with a specific client. Keep your audience’s background in mind as you shape your message, making sure to appeal to the entire audience, as a whole.
- Determine your delivery method. Audiences tend to remember images and stories much more than statistics. After you have crafted your message, reflect on the best way to deliver it to keep your audience engaged. You may consider creating handouts to illustrate your points, designing an eye-catching powerpoint to accompany your talk, or using other visuals like videos, infographics, or bringing your words to life.
- Practice your talk in front of different audiences. If the conference audience will be a mixture of experience levels and interests, it is best to practice your talk in front of coworkers or friends to get constructive feedback. Be sure to ask them to comment on the tone, the speed of your delivery, as well as if the message was easy to follow. Having someone who is removed from the topic area listen to your message is an efficient way to determine if your word choice is clear. Recording yourself with the clothes you plan to wear is another way you can ensure you are well prepared and well-rehearsed for the conference.
Delivering a memorable conference talk is just as much about how you prepare as it is about what you say. Whether you’re looking to command more authority in your next public speaking engagement or want to be a standing ovation worthy keynote speaker, our interpersonal skills programs will get you closer to achieving your communication goals.
Our dedicated and full-time faculty will work with you to enhance, refine, and elevate your communication skills to the next level. Click here to see our current program offering or contact us at 1-888-375-1801 to speak with a communication consultant.