Communicating at Conference: An opportunity to reach your desired audiences

I love public speaking. There’s something exciting about sharing your knowledge and stories with a room full of people, connecting with them, making them laugh, answering questions.

For communication professionals, especially for us agency folks, speaking engagements are an amazing opportunity to reach a large audience and showcase our work and capabilities. I find annual conferences to be a time where everyone in an organization is eager to learn the latest and greatest in industry trends and return to work invigorated with new ideas to implement immediately. Well that’s how I feel every August when I return from the annual Florida Public Relations Association conference.

Because I’m such a fan of FPRA’s annual conference, I’ve looked for opportunities to attend other conferences as a speaker and share PR and communication best practices, case studies, etc. to members of other industries.

This summer, Kidd Group will be presenting at the FMEA-FMPA Annual Conference in Palm Beach. With more than a decade of experience working with utilities across Florida, we will be sharing some of our most successful case studies as well as affordable resources available to utilities to help meet their communication needs. Additionally, we will have the opportunity to hold a smaller breakout session covering media training and social media best practices.

As I start thinking about some of the conference presentations on the horizon for 2011, I’d like to share some tips for presenting:

  • Research and plan ahead – Not all audiences are created equal. Learn about the conference where you’ll be presenting, its audience and what that particular industry has been faced with from challenges to successes. Knowing your audience and the industry will ensure you create a presentation that is relevant and engaging.
  • Create an interactive presentation – There’s nothing worse than a text heavy PowerPoint that mirrors what you’re saying at all times. I don’t like reading presentations word for word. Instead, I like to make my presentations more interactive adding pictures and videos that will spark questions and conversations from the audience and will keep the presentation moving forward. Less is more – consider bullet points instead of full sentences and get the audience participating with stories, videos and other visual examples.
  • Have fun and be yourself! – After all, no one likes a presenter who’s not enjoying his/her own presentation. Keep in mind, conference attendees are spending time away from work to learn new things that will be useful to them and their staff. Make sure you’re providing real life examples and ideas that can be implemented immediately. Be yourself – being comfortable in your shoes goes a long way in connecting with the audience. Keep the audience engaged, ask questions and above all have fun. If you’re having a great time, chances are so is the audience.

Do you have any presentation tips to add? I’d love to know!

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