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30 Great Tips For Speakers

by Scott Stratten

I've done the "speak for free to five people in a room that holds 100" thing, I've been paid keynote fee's and everything in between, I figured it was time to share what I've learned.

  1. Don't be a "speaker". Be an expert who speaks. Speakers are a "nice to have" but experts are a necessity.

  2. The power is not the point - slides are there as navigation points, not to be the content.

  3. If everything you say is on your slides, you've rendered yourself useless. Speak, don't read.

  4. There is a high demand for people that can both provide content and deliver it effectively from stage. Some can do one of the two, most don't do either and a select few do both. Aim to be great.

  5. End your presentation early.

  6. What new ideas/skills will your audience have when they leave your session? If the only answer is "they'll know more about me!" You need to start over.

  7. Be prepared to present without slides if something goes wrong. And then do it on purpose.

  8. It's not about you.

  9. No matter how many times you remind people, someone's cellphone will go off during your talk. Get over it.

  10. Make sure your own cellphone is off before speaking.

  11. Speakers are their best during Q&A because they're not handcuffed to a slide. Think about that.

  12. Stop walking in front of the projector. Seriously, how do some people not know this?

  13. Use a hand-held clicker for slides instead of using the laptop. And when they don't see the hand clicker, you look like Obi Won Kenobi when the slide progresses on its own. I use Kensington 33374 Wireless Presenter with Laser Pointer.

  14. Don't apologize to the audience about something they wouldn't know was wrong. Saying "I was supposed to have a video here" doesn't help. Keep going.

  15. Have passion for what you're saying. If you don't, your audience won't either.

  16. If you use feedback sheets, there will always be somebody who didn't like you. If its in the majority, you need to consider what's said. If it's in the minority, ignore it.

  17. Be early and stay late. Getting to know the audience beforehand and talking after to answer questions is a forgotten thing that gives the highest value.

  18. Speaking for free is a great lead generator and a quick way to go broke. Get value one way or another, because you give it. Get conference passes for others, barter for product or services or at least a wheel of cheese.

  19. Videotape every session you do. Share it on your blog and watch it yourself. Learn from it.

  20. Change your presentation every time. Update stats, bring new examples. Own the content, not repeat it.

  21. Ask for testimonials, don't just assume the organizer will send one.

  22. If you start every point with "In my book..." you're doing a commercial, not a seminar. The best way to sell is to teach. I'm not saying ignore that you have a book, just simmer down a bit, we heard you the first five times.

  23. It's not about you.

  24. If the conference has a #HashTag on Twitter, start finding people who are going to be there by searching with it. Talk to them, build relationships and then track them down at the event to say hi. It'll be like you already know them, because you do.

  25. Send out helpful tips that have to do with your content by using the same #HashTag as above.

  26. Watch Twitter for mentions of your talk and let people know you appreciate them spreading your word.

  27. You're not their parent, don't tell them to put phones away, just ask as a courtesy to put the ringer on silent. I don't understand speakers that tell audiences they can't text/tweet during a talk. Make your content so good people feel they HAVE TO tell others right away, but great enough that they don't want to miss a word.

  28. If you've done a certain presentation numerous times and you feel it's routine, either change it up or trash it. It may be the 20th time you've told a story, but it's the first time that audience has heard it.

  29. It's not about you.

  30. If you use feedback sheets, create two check-boxes at the bottom. One that says "I would like to be subscribed to your newsletter that provides (insert awesome benefit)" and the other says "I know of a group/association that would benefit from your talk, drop me a line". Extend the contact past the session.

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