Being the last speaker at an event can be daunting for speakers. But there are actually some big opportunities. Make being the last speaker work for you!
Being the last speaker at an event can be daunting for speakers. But there are actually some big opportunities. Make being the last speaker work for you!
At The Inbounder in Madrid, Bas van den Beld spoke to Marcus Tandler about his experiences as a speaker and any tips he has for other (new) speakers).
We discussed several topics: from Google to Slidestorms (301 slides in 30 minutes!), rehearsing, anxiety, tactics and much more!
In the past few weeks, you have seen parts of the interview with Purna Virji being published on our YouTube channel and through our social channels. Today, you can watch the entire interview with Purna!
Public speaking for some speakers seems to be easy. They look confident on stage. They have a great story and a lot of knowledge. It seems they have no problem being on stage. Speaking for them seems to come naturally.
Often appearances are deceiving. These speakers work hard to get a presence on stage that feels so natural. And they too get nervous.
As a speaker, it is great to learn from other experienced speakers. To learn how they handle nerves. To learn how they first got on stage. In a series of interviews, we talk to these experienced speakers. To get insights from them that help you, as someone who wants to be a better speaker.
In this series, we spoke to Purna Virji (Bing), Marcus Tandler (Ryte), Cindy Krum (Mobilemoxie) and Melanie Deziel (consultant, former NYT).
In the interview with Purna, we talked about a lot of different things related to public speaking.
Purna has been speaking in public since early 2012. She still loves being on stage. Actually, the more she does it, the more she loves it!
Purna spends a lot of time preparing for a presentation. Including design and everything around a presentation, she spends about 100 hours preparing for a one-hour presentation!
She will start by thinking about which issues the audience is facing. What can she give them which is of most help? The key thing is, how can she add the most value. She will then go and do research about what is available and what is out there.
Her next step is to create an outline in Word. She will fill that in, almost like she is writing an article. In the end, she will convert it to Powerpoint.
Purna rehearses a lot for a presentation. She likes to get in at least three rehearsals for a talk. She finds that helps to get the talk to stick in her head and to know the flow.
Purna finds that if she hasn’t rehearsed enough, she will stumble and she will find herself say “uhm” too much. Rehearsal makes that her talks sound better!
Purna has an interesting approach to rehearsing. She doesn’t rehearse in front of a mirror. She rehearses to the wall. After all, the wall is a captive audience and never has a bad thing to say! She practices on her own, in for example her hotel room or her office.
The first rehearsal she does out loud. She then can adjust content and flow. And she knows how her time is! Purna can than adjust her slides accordingly.
Why Purna wanted to go into public speaking in the first place, is because she found it to be absolutely terrifying! She thought she would ‘die’ when she would get on stage. She hated it more than bugs or spiders. She wanted to conquer that fear.
For the first two or three years, she was still terrified. But the more she did it, the fear goes away.
Purna believes the fear isn’t a bad thing. The fear comes from caring how the audience perceives the talk and how they get value. Which is good.
To get rid of the nerves, she does things like deep breathing. She tries to change the nerves into excitement. She feels much more comfortable.
Purna’s advice for speakers who are just starting is to ‘just do it!’ If you give yourself time to think about it, you give yourself time to talk yourself out of it. If you feel there is something you have had a success in. If you have something you are proud of, know that you have value to add! Just go ahead and pitch!
Purna wants you to just go ahead and do it. The more diverse voices there are in this industry, the more the industry as a whole will benefit.
Want more advice from experience speakers? Subscribe to our YouTube channel to find more!
There are speakers who draw great crowds. Not only during their session, but after as well. People come up to them, ask them questions, take pictures and often enough, become clients.
How do they do that? Of course, with a good presentation. But there is a way to get that attention as well. Here’s how…
Hey! How are you doing? Sometimes, when you’re preparing for a presentation, you will find that you have too much material. You just can’t put it all into your presentation and that
sometimes… It sucks, it’s not nice… But it might be something that you can use for your own benefit. Let me tell you why.
Sometimes you want people to come up to you after your talk. You want them to get engaged with you during the breaks. Now, the extra material that you can’t put into your presentation, might actually be something that can help you trigger to get people to come up to you after your talk.
Imagine that at the end of your talk you are almost done and you explain to the audience that you may have a lot more stories about a certain topic. You go like “oh I wish I could tell this now but we don’t have the time for that. But you know what, if you really want to hear the story come up to me afterward and I’ll tell you the story.”
Chances are people will come up to you to hear that last bit, that last story that you couldn’t tell in your presentation. So don’t just rule out the extra information the extra stuff that you have prepared. Use it for your own benefit. Use it after your talk.
If you are doing talks or workshops, you need to come prepared. If you show up with only your computer, chances are something goes wrong. A well-prepared speaker brings his own items.
Let’s take a look at five items every speaker needs to bring to a conference or workshop to make sure your session goes as planned.
Public Speaking. Is it worth it? Does it matter? Why is it important for you, or for your business? In this article here, I talked about the importance of public speaking for your business. It definitely can make a difference to your business!
But what about your personal brand. How does personal speaking help there? Is it worth investing time to become a great speaker?
Here are 6 reasons:
The obvious answer here is ‘yes’. But why the ‘yes’? Let’s dive into that.
For some people public speaking is terrifying. The thought of getting on that stage and speaking to a group of people can make some people physically ill. Yet when they do it, that feeling of illness turns into a feeling of invincibility. The actual speaking can be the drug that not just cures the nerves, it creates an addiction as well.
You are someone with an idea. With a plan. And you want to make sure more people ‘get’ that idea. What better place than a conference to start spreading that idea? Yes, you can write about it, but being in a room with sometimes hundreds of people listening to your story: what better way to present your ideas is there? You have direct influence and you can see them in the eyes while you talk to them.
If you are on stage, chances are your ideas will get more traction. You are showing people what your ideas mean and you are telling them in person. This is powerful. More powerful than written language. This means your ideas will likely not just travel further, it will have more impact. Because if those you reach while talking share, they will share with passion.
When you are speaking, chances are potential employers will see you talk. And get impressed! Which will open up doors on the job front. You will be more visible, thus more trustworthy and more wanted! From being the next resume that ends up at the bottom of the stack, you become the bookmarked name they want for the job.
If you are building your brand, or even when you are ‘just’ working for a boss, showing what you know is important. It builds trust. It builds Thought Leadership. And it gets you business. Being on a stage makes that you can demonstrate the knowledge that brings you all that.
Finally, in a world where information is everywhere, it is getting harder to stand out every day. Writing articles means you are one of the many. When you are at a conference, on a stage, people will see YOU. And when you deliver the right speech, they will remember you better.
All these are reasons for you to get on that stage and speak! And if it’s not for your personal brand, it might be for your business. Is there any reason you shouldn’t get on stage? Let me know and we’ll chat about it!
Should you or shouldn’t you be doing public speaking? When you have been attending events, you might have thought “why do these speakers want to be on stage? What’s in it for them?” You could be wondering what makes them do it. But you could also be wondering if you should go on yourself.
Is it worth speaking at conferences? Either for your own brand or for your company? Does it matter? As a speaker myself, who loves to be on stage, it’s easy to say “yes”. Of course, it’s worth it! And it’s fun as well! But like with many things, you have to back that up. In what way is it worth speaking at conferences?
In two posts I’d like to highlight the benefits of speaking. Both for you as well as for your company. In this post, we talk about the company, in another post here, we talk about the personal benefits of speaking.
At a conference you can find four types of speakers:
Why would brands, vendors or agencies take the time to go to conferences and speak? What is the benefit of public speaking for them? They don’t get paid for it, so there must be something else that makes it worth it. There are benefits of speaking at conferences for businesses. But what are they?
If you fit into one of these categories, here are some reasons how you could benefit from speaking in public.
The main reason why, especially, agencies and vendors send staff to speak at events is sales. They are hoping to get business out of the event. By speaking they want to attract the attention of possible clients.
When agencies or vendors are pitching their products or services, this backfires. Pitching makes for a bad experience for the attendees. With the consequence that they won’t buy.
More often you do see businesses that ‘get it’. They tell a story, show their brand and based on that, get more business.
When they are on stage they talk about past cases and experiences. With that showing potential clients how knowledgeable they are. At networking opportunities (breaks, drinks, and dinners) they will then make the connection. That is where they can ‘pitch’.
Though most companies won’t get a lot of direct sales from speaking at events, it does set them up for sales. So when sales matters to you, public speaking matters to you.
Public speaking is an effective way of getting your message across. It can help you to show thought leadership
Your company exists for a reason. That means you have a ‘message’. A message that goes beyond selling your product. It’s your reason for existence. Spreading this message can be part of the marketing strategy. To try and become a thought leader in your industry is one of the tactics.
What better way to get a message across, than speaking at conferences. You reach people who go to the event as well as those who read about it on blogs.
Speaking at events can be a great way of getting free publicity. As said, often there are bloggers at conferences. They report on the talks. And they spread what they heard. Get them to write about your talk, and there is your free publicity!
Often the free publicity doesn’t only come from the bloggers. Organisers want to get as many people as possible in the room. To get that, they will create publicity as well. Make sure you are a part of that! Always agree to get interviewed. Write a guest post. Be part of it!
Public speaking opportunities make that you can make your audience think about specific topics. People need a reason to buy. That means they need to first see a ‘problem’.
If the audience doesn’t see not buying your products or services as a problem, you won’t sell much. To make them aware of that problem, you need to show them that problem. Whether it is at a conference or in a pitch, you need to be able to tell the right story. Get them to see a problem and see that you are the solution to that problem.
Public speaking is a great way of getting people to think about topics. Topics that further on in the consumer journey might lead to people looking for your product.
Public speaking is a great way of getting the attention of those that can help your business further. These can be investors, your first customers or banks. Once they see you on stage, showing your knowledge, they start to trust you. With the right story, the right financier will think their money is in the right place with you.
So if your company matters to you. You should care about public speaking. Because yes, public speaking matters today. And if you also think it’s important, you better speak up…
On my holiday in Thailand, I was thinking about something. Something I’ve seen way too many times in the past 10 years. I was thinking about businesses struggling to make money out of conference speaking.
After my holiday I would be speaking at Brighton SEO. It’s a great conference. I was looking forward to being there. It’s a place to see friends, to meet new people and a place to do what I love most: speaking.
For many businesses, it’s much more than that. For them, it’s a place to connect to potential clients and to showcase themselves. When conference season starts, you know that businesses get nervous again about the conferences.
Of course, they want to make the most out of it! For me, it’s a lot simpler. I’m not looking for new clients at conferences. For them, it sometimes is a matter of life or death. They need to get clients from a conference to make it worth it.
So it’s understandable they want to be at their best at conferences. Either by sponsoring, networking and often speaking as well.
Speaking is the most direct way to get visibility. And leads. If they see you speaking on stage, it’s much easier to come up to you. And you can showcase your knowledge. It’s a win-win situation.
In the ideal scenario, a business has one or more of its employees speaking at a conference. They speak about case studies and teach the audience. After the conference, the leads will come pouring in. Because they made a big impact.
As with ideal scenarios, this hardly ever happens. I’ve seen from up close that businesses actually struggle with this. And I’ve seen many in all the years that I’ve been speaking around the world.
More than often you can hear businesses talk about if a conference ‘was worth it’. And most of the time the answer is “no”.
There are several reasons why conference speaking isn’t ‘worth it’ for many businesses. Sometimes they are targeting the wrong audience. Sometimes they are too sales driven. Sometimes it’s just not their day.
A lot of the times, it has to do with the speakers.
Don’t get me wrong. The speakers work hard for it. They make an effort to create great slide decks. To tell a story.
Yet so many speakers can’t deliver. They don’t connect to the audience the way they could. They lack experience, confidence or just that little bit of professionalism.
And you can’t blame them. It’s not their job. At least, not the main part of their job. Even though it’s part of their job. Often the speakers are practitioners sharing their experience.
This would make for an ideal talk. Because it’s always better to hear from those actually doing the work. The problem is that being a practitioner is one thing. Getting the message across is a completely different story.
If you are a great footballer, it doesn’t mean you will make a great coach.
But we would like the practitioners to get that message across, wouldn’t we? Because of that, it would be the ideal mix.
Often inside agencies, vendors, brands, a list compiled. On this list are the events where the company should be present and speaking. It’s one of the reasons we have created our events list. To help businesses find the right events. When they have the list of events, they add names to each conference. Names of employees who will be trying to get to speak there. Those people get the assignment. But they are lucky if they get time to prepare their talks. Usually, they expect them to ‘just do it’. Or at least with a short amount of preparation time.
Hardly ever you hear about a company actually helping their practitioners become better speakers. Better at delivering the story they build. Better at presenting.
Why? It’s just plain stupid they don’t. Because now chances are the talks will not get the attention they deserve. The speakers will work hard, but won’t have the result for it. All they get is the applause after a talk. But actually ROI, there isn’t one.
If you think a bit more about this you realise something. It is not just at conferences where this is costing the businesses money. It is costing a business money elsewhere as well.
How is a pitch decided for example? A big part of the decision is based on how the company presents themselves. If they have bad speakers presenting the pitch, they are less likely to win. Imagine how much money gets lost there…
Why do businesses not care? Why aren’t they spending time and effort on this? It could make such a big difference in the outcome of a conference. They could actually make a LOT of money on
Why aren’t they spending time and effort on this? It could make such a big difference in the outcome of a conference. They could actually make a LOT of money on conferences. If they would only care.
Start helping your staff become better speakers for crying out loud!!!!
Maybe they do care. Maybe they just don’t know how. Maybe it just takes away too much ‘work time’ from those within the business to help the speakers. Maybe managers want to focus their efforts somewhere else.
Or maybe they lack the knowledge themselves.
During my holiday I was thinking about this problem. So many times I’ve wondered what on earth those businesses were thinking.
And I realised it was just that: time and knowledge.
They don’t know how and they don’t have the time to put the preparation into it. So they just let it slide. And hope for the one employee that is a natural at speaking.
With a little bit of effort, a business can help their speakers become better. And can help them get actual ROI from talks.
What about your business? Are you helping your staff become better? Do you train them?
If you are not, you have a choice.
Do you choose the path of least resistance? Stick with the way of working you have been doing for so long? Are you willing to keep losing money on conferences? Or are you one of those companies that dare to help their staff become better at speaking? One that will make a difference?
Let me know!