Speaking at an event is always challenging, but to improve your chances of success, think first about what you can do to stand out from the other speakers.
I know what I'm talking about: I speak at many social media events worldwide, and each one requires a lot of work before, during and after the presentation.
Here are seven secrets I can offer to ensure you enjoy massive success at your next speaking engagement.
1. Create custom cards promoting your speaking event
If you’re speaking at an event where several speeches are taking place at once, promote your event to convince people to attend. One way to do this is to create custom business cards to promote your talk.
The cards can have your contact details on them, of course; but they should also have the details of your talk, together with some promotional text.
Then, before your event, give your business cards to attendees, to "invite" them. Along with attracting people to your event, the contact creates an emotional connection so, when attendees arrive, they already like you. That is hugely important.
2. Leverage social media to its fullest effect.
Social media is a great place to convince attendees of the value of your talk and the benefit they will receive by attending. Here are four ideas:
Share some tips, in the form of images, which are relevant to your talk, to entice people to your event. Post these for a few weeks before your talk, and keep sharing them right up to the event.
Track the hashtag for the conference on Twitter and interact with people already discussing the event.
Become friends with speakers who are speaking before you. You want them to promote your event, also!
Schedule a series of social media updates for the day of the event. Tell people how great your talk will be, and give them good reasons to attend.
3. Greet people at the door.
How nice do you feel when a speaker you really want to hear shakes your hand as you walk into the room? It doesn’t happen a lot because, normally, the speaker is up on stage getting ready. So, when you’re speaking at an event, arrive super early and get everything ready in advance.
You then have time to stand at the door and greet people as they arrive. This personal touch will stick in their minds.
4. Warm up the room.
When I’m at a wedding, I like people to think my table is the most fun, so I count to three and get everyone at the table to applaud and laugh as loud as possible. Then, all the guests at other tables wish they were at ours. At a speaking event, I recall the same story and ask everyone to applaud as loud as possible.
Next, I tell them that my goal is to get a similar level of applause at the end of the talk. If I deliver a great presentation, the cheering and applauding at the end far exceeds what it would have been had I not conducted my exercise at the start.
5. Use people in the room as examples in your presentation.
When you are giving out business cards, find out people’s names and stories so you can start building a connection with them. It’s incredibly powerful when you then mention them in your presentation and use them as examples.
6. Have an intermission!
It's hard to listen to someone for 60 minutes without losing attention. So, halfway through your talk, give your audience an exercise to do. You want to get them talking and taking a break; then they’ll be ready for more content.
For example, ask people to introduce themselves to the person beside them and share their best tips for [whatever the talk is about].
7. Give out the remainder of your custom business cards at the end.
You have a captive audience interested in what you have to say. So, on your cards, you need a hook, like a free download or another special offer, to bring people to your website. They’re already interested in you, so get them to your website to subscribe to your content.