When you’ve been in the business long enough, you learn to see the tell-tale signs of the best guest speakers. If you are a guest speaker, here are five signs that you are among the elite:
1. Needs Assessment
Great speakers don’t guess; they take the time in advance to ensure they know who they are talking to, why they have been invited, and what aspect of their topic is most relevant. The very best of the best have requested phone calls with three or four participants to get firsthand experience with the audience in advance.
Like canned spinach, a canned talk is unlikely to win friends. If you’ve given the talk so often you could “give it in your sleep,” you’re likely to give it in THEIR sleep! Great speakers take the time EACH TIME to find a fresh perspective on their material, making it relevant to the audience they are presenting to (point 1 and 2 obviously go hand in hand!).
3. Show up Early
The surest sign of a pro is they come early – in fact, so early they get time on the stage with the technicians before anyone else is awake! They walk the stage, do a sound check, ask to see what the lights will be like, practice with the clicker, make sure their videos or animations are playing correctly, and click through every slide in their deck to make sure everything is perfect.
4. Limited Slides
Slides have become so common we forget that we can listen to a great speaker for HOURS without them. (Can you imagine Winston Churchill with a clicker in one hand and laser pointer in the other?) A prepared, confident, engaging presenter is just as likely to see slides as a barrier as support. Five slides, six slides, maybe seven? See how few you can use in your next talk and see how the audience responds.
5. End on time (even when your time is cut!)
The ultimate sin for any presenter is to go over the scheduled time. Like being the last to leave after all the other guests have gone home, it’s just plain bad form. No matter how great your talk might have been, going over time puts you in danger of being remembered as “that guy/gal who went long” rather than the person with the interesting message.
Want to join this elite club? Our presenter coaches are here to help, just give us a call!