I just got back from my whirlwind speaking engagements and it occurred to me that you might be interested in these recent experiences (especially since speaking in the number one way to increase to raise your visibility and credibility in the industry). In a matter of two weeks, I spoke at two different conferences. Although the topic was the same the audience for each was different.
In Florida I was the first speaker at the Prestige Products Conference. Boy, was I nervous.I was using a new and untested presentation and was the first guinea pig on the stage. I checked my PowerPoint beforehand (and carried two back-up copies) and was leery of the ever waiting glitches in presentations. Everything went well and I finished exactly within the 45 minute time period. This is something you can't always gauge even with practice. If you get nervous and speak fast, it will shorten your speaking time. Then this leaves dead time before the next speaker and it makes you look like an amateur.
The group was great. The asked loads of question and connected with me and my topic. I got ton of business cards from members of the audience who wanted a copy of the entire of the presentation. I made a point of speaking to everyone too and asked their opinion of the other presentations.
The second gig was very different. I was the last speaker on the first day's session. I worked my self into a frenzy after watching Hallmark, Kraft Foods and Sherwin Williams's present programs with all kinds of special effects including video clips. Yikes, here I was with my simple PowerPoint presentation competing for attention at the end of a long day.
By this time I was a wreck, I knew my stuff was good from the previous week's experience, but what about the "show"? I did a quick once over of my slides at the break and everything looked in order. When I got up finally to speak, after a very technical tedious program, I relaxed a little. It was really hard to read such a large audience, where they tired, bored and seemingly uninterested. I panicked when my second speech was missing two slides which I "ad libbed" and I had no bells and whistles to keep them awake. Surprise! Again, I got lots of questions and business cards even without the special effects.
The next day I spoke to a lot of the attendees about the previous day's programs. To my amazement most felt "the big names presentations" were dull, canned or not really relevant to what they were looking for. I even got a terrific testimonial from one attendee about how I had "great takeaways" of information.
So why am I telling you all of this? It's not the "name" of the company or the special effects that makes the presentation or the information of value, it's what the attendees learn and hear from you that makes your presentation a success. Connect with your audience by understanding why they are there in the first place. Don't get caught up in bells and whistles or special effects that detract from the "substance" of your program. If the material is good, your presentation will be too, even if there are a few hitches in it. Speakers are not "gods" to be worshiped from afar. Those who connect with their audience though solid content and information will be remembered long after the "fancy" presentations fade.
JoAnn Hines' specialty is PACKAGING PEOPLE.
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It is time to get started "Packaging Yourself."
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