Successful conference & seminar presentations 

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Posted by , 13th June 2017

Conference & seminar speaking slots are a great way to raise the profile of your company and yourself

Seminars and conferences running alongside trade shows present some excellent promotional opportunities.

They are great for;

  • Generating pre-show publicity
  • Attracting people to your stand during the event
  • Raising the profile and authority of your business
  • Increasing the visibility and influence of you or a colleague as an industry speaker

 Getting on the programme

The conference or seminar programme running alongside a show is a provider of content for visitors.

The first step to getting on the programme is to ask the organiser for details of the subjects that they would like covered.

When you have those details, you can then assess if there’s a subject in the programme about which your company can speak with authority.

If there is, submit synposis that outlines what the presentation from your company will cover.

And if you know who your speaker will be, provide a brief bio that highlights why they are qualified to deliver this subject.

The organiser’s seminar or conference team will decide on the final cut of subjects and speakers based on what they judge will make the best and most attractive line-up for visitors.

Why should they choose to put you on the programme?

In your synopsis, highlight why this subject will be topical, of interest and importance to attendees or delegates and why your company is highly qualified to present on this subject.

In your submission, include brief supporting points that demonstrate credibility or authority and include contact details. That’s VIP.

Under no circumstances, try to disguise a sales presentation as content.

More on this below.

Genuine, editorial style information is what’s needed; not a sales pitch

One of the fastest ways to clear a room of delegates is to present an out and out sales pitch when you should be presenting an informative or educational talk.

Speakers who commit this crime, turn their valuable, profile building, audience winning opportunity into a time-share style turn-off.

If attendees don’t leave the room physically, they will mentally.

You’ll know they have left your particular part of the building when you see them checking their email and missed calls.

Speakers who do this score an own-goal; they turn visitors away from their business, and it’s unlikely the organiser will invite them to speak again.

To be an effective speaker in a programme, you need to do a straightforward thing; present real and valid information; information that makes it worthwhile for someone in the audience to sit and listen to what you have to say.

The fast guide to an effective presentation

Decide on your subject

Write an outline of the topic in bullet points – this will become your Abstract which you will send to the organiser. They will use this for pre-event promotion of the programme and your particular subject.

Be clear on the timing

How much time is in the programme for your slot? If it’s fifteen minutes, don’t go to the event with a presentation that will take at least thirty minutes to deliver. Over-runs in a programme are a nightmare both for the organiser and the audience

When will questions be allowed?

Should time for questions be included in your slot or will they be taken at the end of the session? Important to know as this affects the timing of your talk.

Further tips for whoever is going to deliver the talk

Write out your presentation in full. 

One of the biggest fears about speaking comes from a lack of confidence. 

A big step to overcoming this fear is to know your speaking subject thoroughly, and that’s why I recommend drafting your whole presentation in detail.

You should have much more information than your timing allows. You can edit down once you have the primary draft completed. Bullet points are an excellent place to start. List in bullet form the points you want the talk to cover and build out from there. 

Edit your presentation

When you edit, the goal is to retain the most significant points.

When you look at the draft, decide which topics are the most important.

Ranking your bullet points is an effective way to do this as it helps to hack away the nonessentials.

A good structure

A good structure will have a strong opening, something that gets audience attention. It will also have a strong close; one linked to the opening of your talk.

Linking the start and finish makes what you say more memorable to your audience. And of course, you need something tasty between the start and finish of your talk.


A confident delivery comes from two things; knowledge of your subject and knowledge of your talk.


Slides are jumping-off points. You use them as an intro into the next part of your talk or to illustrate a specific point. Don’t use too many slides.

Including video

Video can really enhance a talk and it can provide the proof of your argument to the audience. But it can’t be too long (why do they need you as a speaker?) and it can’t be a sales video either. 

The call to action

I mentioned earlier the importance of a strong close to your speech.

The call to action comes after the close. After a short pause you say something like, “I hope that you found this presentation interesting and useful. I will be taking questions at the end of the session along with the other speakers and afterwards I’ll be on our stand …

Promotion opportunities from presentations

You can use presentation participation in several ways to build promotion for your business and a profile for your speaker. 

  • Pre-show, invite clients and prospects to attend your session. Not only will they get to hear your representative speak, but they can also “hear from other industry experts, including ….”
  • The organiser will promote the conference or seminar programme
  • The organiser may film your session and talk. Request a copy, post a link on your website and promote through social media
  • You can make copies of the presentation available as a download
  • You can offer the presentation to trade media and trade bodies

Learn from each presentation that you give

Some talks will go brilliantly; some you will feel, could have gone better.

Whatever happens, learn the lessons and apply them to the next speaking opportunity.

Posted in Conference & Seminars  /  Marketing  /  Visibility & Impact

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