When you become an established expert in the tech industry, some might begin to ask you to speak and share your insights or best practices with their audience. Sadly, most people in tech are introverts with very little experience in speaking to people in public and will most likely turn down the opportunity to present because they fear failure and ridicule.
However, if you ask any established authority in their industry, they will all confirm that one of the fastest ways of growing your career and rising up in the ranks is when you begin to speak at conferences and seminars in front of your peers.
Why is this so important?
When you are giving a presentation in front of your peers or others in your industry, you are instantly positioned as an expert where it can help boost your personal brand. Not only are you introduced to the audience in a way that establishes credibility, but you are being given their undivided attention which means that they are listening to you with great intent. When this happens, you become memorable and someone that they will look to for advice.
So the next time you are asked to speak at an event, do not shy away. Leap at the opportunity and know that it will drastically improve your positioning within your company and field.
Here are some simple tips you can use to deliver a good speech at a tech conference:
Choose A Good Topic
The first and most important ingredient for a presentation is an interesting topic. No matter what the speaker feels about the subject, he or she must portray deep interest and try to show the audience the extent of his or her knowledge, in a meaningful and attention-grabbing manner.
According to the website Keynote Speakers, the key is to find something that you know very well and can share some new insights. Very often people get bogged down trying to reinvent the wheel when sometimes all you need is a fresh perspective on an old topic.
The Presenters Must Know Their Material Well
The next step of speech preparation is knowing the essay, material or argument extremely well. If the presentation is being given from a written format, the speaker must have practiced the material so many times that the eye can quickly scan and find relevant points and notes while the presentation is going on.
“Whatever you do, do not try and memorize your speech” says John Rogan of Motivational Speakers. “If people see you trying to talk about something from memory, you will look unnatural and come off awkward. Just make sure to have a powerpoint or flash card with some key points that can keep you on track. The rest should just flow from you as if you were talking to a colleague about the subject.”
The Physical Format of an Effective Presentation
The physical aspect refers to bodily appearance as well as the props necessary for a smooth, professional visual presentation that audiences will find both attractive and worthy of their listening time.
Clothes, hair and jewelry need to be such that do not distract the audience in any way from the text of the presentation. It is not suggested that the speaker alter clothes choices, but that whatever is chosen does not pull the eye towards it rather than the ear of the listener towards the speaker.
The physical props necessary for the presentation, such as note cards or note paper, podium, laptop and its equipment should be well organized and placed in the perfect situation for the speaker. Practicing with the exact set out of the props prior to the presentation is essential so that not only the set up is quick and clean, but that everything is laid out exactly as expected.
Quick Tips for an Oral Presentation
These three points will help the speaker face the audience with confidence:
- Never look at the eyes of the audience but rather scan slightly above their heads. Every now and then scan just above the heads of the whole audience; it will seem as if you are looking at everyone.
- Think of “telling” information, not lecturing. Think of explaining and not trying to catch out the audience.
- Don’t be self-conscious; the lecture isn’t about “you” but rather about a topic. Centering on the topic will relieve the self-conscious speaker by removing the focus from him or herself to the content of the presentation.
Rehearse for the Final Presentation
Every phase of the preparation should be practiced many times. Materials should be read aloud; silently won’t help at all. Practice standing correctly, going through the walk on, the opening of books, turning pages, looking up at the audience, smiling, even cracking a joke at an intended interval. On the stage many things can be go wrong, from an electricity outage to dropping the lecture notes on the floor.
Be ready with a print out of a PowerPoint presentation, or a second copy of the lecture ready in a briefcase. The least the speaker can do is to get everything that should be in order, ready for a perfect, smooth, seamless presentation.