Speak Often – It’s good for business, great for your career

Posted By on January 14, 2012

Speaking at Conferences

Speaking at Conferences

Sharing your experience and expertise with industry peers is good for business and great for your career. Each year thousands of trade shows and conferences are held covering virtually every topic, industry and profession. These events provide you the chance to build your reputation as well as the reputation of the company or organization you represent by giving a keynote, a speech, or participating on a panel.

Of course, the quality of your content and delivery will determine just how valuable your contribution turns out to be. Good speakers are often asked back and receive invitations to present at other events. Your opportunities will grow when you build your speaking reputation.  Honing your speaking skills to maximize your impact can be invaluable.

Start now.

  • Develop a core list of topics you are comfortable addressing and develop speaking points for each.
  • Begin to explore speaking opportunities for those topics.
  • Once you secure a slot, develop a schedule for preparation. Include time to develop your remarks; practice and revise; and for at least one dry-run.
  • Use video to help identify areas for improvement.
  • Consider getting a presentation coach to help you prepare.

Subscribe to this blog and enjoy proven speaking tips and advice. Remember, speaking for impact is not an accident. It’s a skill. Stellar presentation skills and public speaking skills will help you advance in your career.

Share your thoughts

Are you planning to speak at an industry event this year? How will you prepare? Share your approach by commenting on this post.

  1. Eugene Lee says:

    I came to your blog because you tweeted about my recent TEDx presentation and I thought I would share some brief thoughts.

    When I was invited to present at TEDx in Santa Barbara my heart skipped a beat – after all, that was one of my “bucket list” items. When the organizers asked me what I might talk about I said “leadership analogies from music” without even thinking – as that has been an item of personal passion for many years.

    But then came time to develop my content. I followed the advice of other people I know who had presented at TED or TEDx and they said “watch lots of TED talks” – which I did. Unfortunately all this did was send me into a state of insecure paralysis – because the bar is so high!

    The benefit of deadlines is that they force you to get your act together – and as the 11-11-11 date approached, desire to do a good job gradually overcame paralysis from fear. As I started sketching out my own point of view, I started to develop at least a foundational level of confidence in my content. But I still was frozen about the whole presentation and delivery angle.

    So I followed another piece of advice – practice in front of others – a LOT. So I enlisted loved ones, close friends, and a couple of colleagues of work, and subjected them to my rehearsal over and over. Eventually I got my timing down, got good feedback on imagery to illuminate my concepts, and most importantly got lots of friendly positive encouragement.

    All in all, it was by far the most stressful presentation experience I’ve ever had, but I came through it ok and am personally proud of the result. If you’d like – take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctoJfe4_t4o

    Love your blog!

    • Judy says:

      I love your presentation! You do an excellent job of engaging the audience. Your observation that it is difficult to create and deliver an outstanding presentation is spot on. Kudos to you for seizing this opportunity to do an outstanding job. Look at the payoff for the energy and creativity you invested! Once you selected the analogy of music and leadership you creatively executed. Your presentation was multi-sensory, engaging, and memorable! Congratulations from all of us at Grant and Associates.

      As you may know, we coach executives, on-air talent and celebrities on presentation and media skills. In our work we have observed that every speaker has natural speaking strengths and that it is these strengths that can most readily be emphasized to improve one’s impact immediately. We’ve identified the Top Ten Speaking Strengths™ and, I’d like to share with you yours. In this video, I see your strengths as:

      Charisma – Personally magnetic
      Energy – Forceful, vigorous
      Knowledge – Authoritative, informed

      To support your strengths, I suggest you focus on using more pauses and vocal variety. Pausing helps you keep control and gives the audience a moment to digest your message. Vocal variety (varying your rhythm, tone and the brightness of your voice) allows you to vary the energy and gives a platform for your charisma to shine through. As with music, varying your pace and tone and moving between sound and silence gives the audience a sense of movement – speeding up or slow down or resting. Pauses in music are, as you well know, called “rests”. A great way to think of pauses!
      In your presentation, when you accelerate your delivery and raise your volume a bit, the audience feels excitement, anticipation, energy. When you slow down or lower your volume, the audience feels more calm and relaxed. You demonstrate the power of the pause about 6 minutes into your presentation just before you introduce the video of Michael Tilson Thomas. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctoJfe4_t4o

      In the segment you pause and collect yourself for about three seconds which clearly signals the audience that you about to take us somewhere new or different at this point in the presentation. There are a number of places where you use the power of the pause well. I encourage you to use it even more!
      I hope you continue to speak frequently and to strive to improve your speaking skills throughout your life. Just as for musicians, practice is never wasted and one can always improve one’s performance.

      • Eugene Lee says:

        Wow – you really did take the time to watch my talk!

        Yes you are completely right about pausing – it’s something I need to constantly remind myself to do. Of course, the TED talk format has very strict time limits which made it harder to pause.

        Thank you again for taking the time to watch and leave such insightful comments!


        • judy says:

          You’re very welcome. Regarding your comment about the very strict time limits – From my television experience, I know the challenge and the benefits of limiting content so that you can pause for impact. It’s worth the trade off and will help make the content memorable. I encourage you to speak often and to hold fast to your commitment to improve your skills. Like musicians, actors, athletes and other “performers”, professional coaching helps speakers improve – no matter how good you already are. You’re never “done” with improving as a speaker. Consider working with a presentation coach. I think you’ll be pleased with the results.

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