Image courtesy of BNC Marketing Showcase:
Guess which is one of the biggest bonus opportunities that exhibitors miss when exhibiting?
Well, it is, of course, speaking or taking part in the conference or seminar programme of the show.
That’s on your feet (or sitting down) speaking in plain talk.
My advice is don’t miss out whether it’s a standing or sitting kind of a gig.
How to get involved in the action
Big companies often have their PR agencies working on getting speakers into the programmes of trade shows and conferences.
Don’t worry if you don’t have an agency working for you, you can still make that list if you get yourself organised.
Obviously, you or a colleague in the business must have expertise on one or more of the subjects in the programme.
If that’s covered, let’s move to being involved in the programme and making the most of the opportunity.
Contact the organiser in good time
Conference and seminar programmes are usually put together months in advance of the event.
That’s why you need to contact the organiser of the event in plenty of time.
Request a synopsis of the programme from them
This should include details about the individual sessions that the organiser is hoping to fill.
The details supplied should tell confirm the subjects where speakers are still needed.
There will also be guidelines relating to how long each speaker should talk.
There may be a request for qualification to ensure that a speaker is really an expert in the subject they have elected to speak on.
Most importantly, there should be a deadline published for the submission of a summary of your talk (your synopsis).
Many trade show organisers have borrowed the “call for papers” approach to filling their programmes.
It’s an approach that conference organisers have used for many years.
As the name would suggest, a call goes out to the industry an event serves and interested parties respond.
However, you can’t count on this approach being taken which is why I why recommend that you contact the show organiser directly and in plenty of time.
Apart from what might be termed regular speaking slots, there may also be opportunities to supply somebody from your company as a participant in a panel discussion.
Panel discussions are very popular with audiences.
They are less formal then keynote addresses but they still impart a lot of information to an audience.
And where the audience is asked to submit questions, the information can be directly relevant to one or more attendees.
Promoting participation in the programme
If you or a colleague are invited to speak promote participation as a wide as possible.
For a start, ensure the organiser receives a biography and a picture of the speaker.
These details will be included in organiser initiated conference promotions.
These are invaluable free publicity boosts for your speaker and your business.
Invite clients and prospective clients to attend the talk and ensure that start times and venue details are included in your communications.
If venue details change, which they can do, you will need to advise your contacts about this before they get to the venue.
Use the synopsis of the talk as a piece of content that can be used to draw enquiries for other forms of content that deal with the same subject.
Your stand presence at the show is, of course, one big element of content that fits the bill here.
Will the session be filmed?
One of the biggest bonuses for speakers in a conference programme is that the proceedings are often filmed.
Video footage of the conference can massively increase awareness of your business.
Usually, video content is made available after the show closes but not always. The organiser can let you have the release details and links to the programme.
Do I need to tell you to make the most of that footage? I didn’t think so.
Small but important details
Make sure that your speaker rehearses what they are going to say.
If the speaker is not experienced work with them on their delivery.
Where you are the speaker try out your material on colleagues until you feel confident that you are covering the subject as you’d like.
Check your timings.
Organisers hate speakers who overrun and unless you are the wittiest speaker around, so do the people sitting in the audience.
Never, ever, ever make your talk a sales pitch. Do that and you will never be asked to speak by that organiser again.
You will probably also experience people walking out of your presentation. That’s poor form on your part and a waste of a great promotional opportunity.
Slides. Don’t leave these until the last minute. It’s stress that you and the conference organiser can do without.
On-site, I recommend that you take a look at the room before you speak and that you introduce yourself to the AV team.
This will be helpful if you need the AV team to follow any special instructions in regard to your presentation.
If there is a session chairperson, ask them to mention at the end of the session that your speaker will be on your show stand to take further questions.
Doing so will bring visitors to your stand.
Use your talk to get other speaking slots
Another benefit of having links to video that shows you or a colleague in speaking action is that the footage can help get you selected for other speaking opportunities.
When exhibiting at other events use the footage as part of your introduction to a conference or seminar organiser.
It’s a great testimonial both to the knowledge possessed by your business about the issue plus it shows presentation style and delivery.
For all of the above reasons, make the very most of the conferences and seminars that are now a big part of trade shows.
They are an extra content opportunity that you don’t pay for. And there’s nothing wrong with that!