Public speaking – Ace that conference speech part 2

This is an AI generated transcript so please forgive any errors and spelling mistakes.

Do you need to speak at a conference? Then follow these tips. This is my second video in a series of two about speaking at a conference. And maybe you’ve seen the first one, maybe you haven’t. But this one will also help you to as your conference speaking.

Hi, my name is Shola Kaye. I’m a public speaking coach, a professional speaker and a performer based in London, but with clients all over the world. And today, I’m recording this from Hyderabad in India, where I am, at the moment because I’m going to be giving making a presentation in a couple of days time at a conference.

Last week, I attended a conference as a conference chair. I was in the lucky position of listening to nine talks all in a row over the course of the day. And I thought wow, wouldn’t it be good if I could share some of the lessons that I learned and some of the things that I saw with you, my dear listeners. So here I am today and this, as I mentioned before, is the second of two videos.

So if you didn’t catch video number one, make sure you look out for it after this first this one. But there are three tips that I want to share with you today about how to get the best out of speaking at a conference.

Public speaking – make your talk flexible

This first tip is somewhat related to one of the tips I shared in my earlier video. And it’s to be flexible with your talk, to be able to truncate it, make it shorter, or even extend it by a little bit if need be. Now, why is this important? Well, at a conference, there are so many things going on at one time.

In this particular conference, there are different streams, where all each stream had a series of talks, and all the talks in all the streams ended at the same time, so that people could jump from screen to stream and kind of create their own program for the day in terms of what they wanted to listen to. And what that means is when you’ve got multiple streams like this, ideally, every talk will end at the same time. But with life being as it is not everything, which goes to plan. As a result of that, sometimes, some talks would overrun and so that meant that the speaker coming off the bat would possibly get less time to speak.

Then sometimes the talks would become a little bit shorter, or the person would finish earlier. And so on occasion that be more time for the next speaker to speak than they had planned for. So my tip to you is to make your talk slightly flexible. Perhaps add an exercise that if that’s not essential, add an exercise so that if you find you’ve got an extra five minutes, you can throw the exercise in and get the audience involved. Or maybe find a section in the middle of your tool or a little bit of info that perhaps isn’t super vital. And that you can take away without it damaging the flow and the content of your presentation. So that way, you’re well prepared for anything that could happen.

Now, it didn’t happen at this conference. But I’ve heard sort of horror stories in the way of people presenting or being told they’re presenting for 40 – 50 minutes and having to cut off 20 minutes from that presentation, because of the way that the schedule was running on that particular day. Now imagine if you hadn’t planned in advance for such an event. Imagine that you cut 20 minutes off, and then you end up this mid-sentence. You don’t get to finish up your talk, you don’t get to share a call to action, you don’t get to talk about your products or services, whatever it is, you may have missed off the most important for you part of that presentation.

So it’s super, super important to be flexible. And to even see your talk as being something that’s kind of modular that’s built up with different blocks. So that if you have to take a block away, or add a block on, you’re ready, you’re ready for any circumstance that could take place. So be flexible with the length of your talk and with the content.

Public speaking – have a clear structure and present it to your audience as a roadmap

My second tip is to have a clear structure. Now the best presenters were the ones where you could really see that they planned exactly what they were going to say to the audience. They tell the audience beforehand what was going to happen, everything went according to plan in terms of the structure. And all the information was clearly grouped together. And it was clear that the whole thing had been arranged properly. Maybe sometimes that didn’t work as well, sometimes people went off piece a little bit. And instead of sticking to their structure, they decided that they were just going to speak freely about certain topics. And that can work.

But at the same time, you’ve got to have that structure in your mind. As to Okay, I’m going to group this information together. And now I’ll tell the audience account finished on that particular point. Now, what’s my next point, which is around, I don’t know, let’s see women in the law or the police and the law, or whatever it is. This conference was around law, but I don’t know anything about it. So just practical stores here.

But anyway, you get the audience the sort of highlight of the sort of subtitle of the next section, or the title section, and then you go into that. So even though you’re speaking quite freely, the audience knows that there’s a bit of a roadmap, you’re saying Okay, I’m talking about this now you talked about but now let’s move on. Let’s transition to the next section of my presentation. Now I’m going to be talking about XYZ, and you share about XYZ. Then you might say Okay, now the final part of my presentation, I’m going to talk about PQR, and you talk about PQR.

So the audience knows where you’re going. And you’re breaking up your words, your talk with these little pointers. So the audience gets this roadmap, and they know that you’re leading them somewhere where people can sometimes say slip up. But sometimes they can make it harder for the audience to follow is where they just decide to speak freely about something. But they kind of abandon the structure, and the audience doesn’t quite know where things are going.

Public speaking – use the lectern wisely, don’t hide behind it

Now, my third point is this one. And it is around using a lectern. And pretty much most conferences will have a lectern there. And it’s a great place to put your notes down. And I’m not saying to not use notes at all, because notes can be great for even putting the audience’s mind at rest. Because they show the audience that you know what you’re speaking about, and you’re following a plan.

But if you put your notes behind the lectern, and you’re behind the lectern yourself the whole time – so if you put your notes on the lectern, and you’re behind the lectern – that can create a barrier between you and the audience. So ideally, you want to be able to step out and away from the lectern. Even if you come back to it periodically to refer to the nose, you want to step away from that so the audience has full access to the whole of your body. And they can feel more connected to you that way. So don’t hide behind the lectern. Don’t, I’m not saying don’t use it, but don’t hide behind it the whole time.

Public speaking: Ace that conference – PT2 Summary

So those are my three tips. And just to summarize what they are, first of all, to have your tool made of building blocks, so that it’s flexible, and you can make it a bit longer, you can make it shorter, depending on the needs of the day.

Secondly, to have a clear structure that you follow. And so it makes it so much easier for the audience to follow along.

And thirdly, not to hide behind the lectern because you’re depriving the audience of some of the connection with you. If part of your body is blocked away from them.

So I hope that helps. And if you all about speak at a conference and you need a bit of coaching, or you need a coach to come into your workplace, and help you and your team with working towards conferences and other big events, then please do let me know and get in touch with me.

Alternatively, I work with small business owners also who need to get onto stages to promote themselves and to promote their business. So if you’re in either situations, please let me know and I look forward to being in touch. In the meantime, take care bye.


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