3 things you should never do in a conference presentation

1. Apologise for your slides
If you have to apologise to your audience for too many words on your slides, because the font is so small the audience can’t read it, or because your slides are confusing – change them before you get to the stage.

2. Go overtime
When you take more than your allotted time, people twitch in their seats. They are so busy worrying about their next appointment they won’t be able to pay attention. Not to mention that you shortchange another speaker when you go over.

3. Read verbatim
If you need a full script for your talk and can’t multi-task to also take in your audience like Leigh Sales or Annabel Crabb, turn your speech into a podcast and you can have listeners all around the world.

For more guidance to make your next conference presentation hit its mark book a speaker coaching session.

Improve your conference by getting speakers together before the event

Conference presenters often meet for the first time at the conference itself and know little about each other’s work.  For the 2014 Women in Mining WA annual seminar, the event manager took a different tack. She invited speakers to a facilitated discussion before the event. The result was confident speakers, interlinked key messages, and a logical flow to the day’s presentations.

I coached nine inspiring women for the seminar, including Emma Stevenson, WA Apprentice of the Year, and Suzy Urbaniak, winner of Outstanding Initiative Promoting Women in Mining. To help you get your speakers on track, here were the 3 outcomes for or tailored workshop:

  1. Each speaker identifies the unique expertise they bring to the conference
  2. They articulate the key message they want to share in their 10 minutes
  3. With everyone’s message clear, each devises a succinct and memorable presentation

Some speakers then refined their presentations at one-to-one coaching where we paid attention to structure, slide content, and body language.

On the day, Suzy Urbaniak (at that time she described herself as a fairly inexperienced public speaker) brought her audience to tears – and moments later had them in fits of laughter. This is the value of preparation! All speakers appeared confident and answered questions succinctly and from the heart. Each sentence uttered provided a new piece of valuable information for the audience.

Bring conference speakers together before an important event to uncover common threads in their stories and create a more coherent event where the audience feels they have discovered something new.

For more about creating a memorable conference email rachael@strategiccreativityatwork.com.au.

Sabina Shugg started Women in Mining WA eleven years ago to help women in the sector connect with their peers. The group now offers a diverse calendar of events, including a mentoring program and the Diverse Boardroom series, as well as this one day yearly conference which sells out well in advance.