Why you should look to chair a conference?

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

Hi, my name is Shola Kaye. I’m a public speaking coach based in London, and I want to talk today about speaking at conferences.

Now, I have another couple of videos on how to as your conference speaking, but this video is about how to get another opportunity from conference speaking, which is quite a handy opportunity. And that is to be the chairperson at a conference. Just recently, I was the chairperson at a conference called Women in Law here in London for more than 1000 women at this summit that took place over a day. And there were six different streams, expect them in six different rooms, all with different presenters all through the days between each of these various rooms. And so each of these rooms will need a chairperson.

Public speaking – as a chairperson you get to showcase your presenting and moderating skills

It’s the chair person’s job to do a number of things. First of all, as the speakers come into the room, the chairperson is going to brief them as to how things are going in the room and make sure they’re all set up with everything that they need. The chairperson will also introduce each of those speakers, and possibly read their bio will share a bit from their bio, or even ask the speaker what it is they want read out about themselves beforehand because some speakers have a very specific introduction, which is actually part of their presentation.

What you may find is if you, me to share your credentials, and you come out saying to the audience, well, if there’s not, it can seem a little bit like you begin yourself up too much. So you may want to get the chairperson to read out all the highlights of your career instead. Because then it means it’s not you that’s coming out and doing all the bands. And so you still get all the kudos, but you don’t get sort of associated with being a bit of a big head or blow your own trumpet. So you may want to ask the chairperson to read out a specific introduction for you.

The chairperson is always was also the person who is monitoring the time, and is letting the speakers know. Okay, you’ve got 10 minutes left, you’ve got five minutes left, etc. The chairperson can also at times be more of an MC. So providing the continuity from one speaker to the next or between one speaker and the next speaker. The chairperson could also manage the Q&A at the end of the talk.

Public speaking – being a chairperson means you can network at the event without the pressure of being a speaker

And as you can see, the chairperson keeps pretty busy today. But the great thing about being a chairperson is you don’t always have to be a subject matter expert. So what if there’s a conference where it’s going to be full of your ideal clients. And it may not be possible for you to speak at that conference. But what about if you somehow managed to become Chair of one of the streams, so you will be liaising all day long with your ideal clients or people that you’d like to network with. But you don’t have that pressure of having to actually create a talk or be a subject matter expert in that particular area.

Public speaking – the chairperson gets to mingle with the audience

So there’s all sorts of opportunities and benefits of being a chair, you get to hear lots and lots of presentations. Many of them might be of interest to you. But also you get to see what makes a decent speaker. You get to network with a lot of people and make tons of contacts, you get some great photo opportunities for your social media. And you also get the exposure and you get the opportunity to try out your skills and introducing people your timekeeping skills.

So I suggest that if any of those benefits of being a chairperson, intrigues or interests you, I would start looking out for summits and conferences, looking and to contact conference organizers, and offering yourself as a chairperson. Why not, there’s nothing to lose. And it’s a really, really great way to get some speaking opportunities, and also to network and liaise with great people.

I found a lot of benefits, got a lot of new contacts from my LinkedIn from being chairperson, it’s events, lots of great pictures for social media that have gone on to Instagram and Twitter and to LinkedIn. And also a nice testimonial from the conference organizers. And I’m sure there’ll be many more benefits that will come from the networking as well. So keep that in mind. Think about where you might want to be the chairperson, maybe where your ideal clients hangout, or an industry in which you’d like to have a higher profile. But perhaps maybe you’re not ready to be a speaker at their events yet, or they’ve already found all the speakers and they just need those more auxiliary roles to be filled now.

I hope that helps. And please do stay in touch.

This information is also going to be available on my podcast if you prefer to listen than to watch.

I’ve got a number of great freebies on my website that you can find out for if you’re interested in finding out a bit more information about public speaking.

Take care and have a wonderful day.


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