Having organized industry and research-focused conferences for over a decade now, I have had the pleasure of experiencing a number of different presentation styles, approaches and formats from the speakers we were lucky enough to have had participate on our events. These styles have ranged from data-driven presentations and concepts to forward-thinking development approaches that the speakers were kind enough to share. However, it became clear to me that many invited speakers were not provided some basic guidance on the event format and expectations of a speaker, which resulted in mixed responses and feedback. Such basic guidance for both the most seasoned veterans on the speaker circuit, as well as new industry thought-leaders, could provide game-changing results to the overall conference experience for attendees and participants, as well as future speakers in the making.
As such, and with our forthcoming co-located 2019 BioPharma eMarketing & 2019 MedDev eMarketing Summits in mind that have a more TED-style format, I wanted to share some of my personal tips for all of our current and future speakers, as well as speakers participating on other events to consider. I have also made some comparisons to one of Steve Jobs killer presentations (Macworld Conference & Expo 2008) which we can all draw some pointers and inspiration from:
- The art of speaking is roughly 51% entertainment, 49% meaty content.
- Ask yourself: When attendees return to work and speak about you and your presentation, what do you hope they will say? What key takeaways do you want them to gather from your talk?
- Does your presentation title reflect the outcomes of what you are aiming to achieve?
- Select a typeface appropriate for on-screen presentation.
- Pictures speak a thousand words: Create visual slides.
- Don’t be scared of sharing your opinions on a controversial subject; create a talk concept which encourages questions and thinking.
- Don’t try to cover too much in one talk. Often the first 15 minutes are when your audience are most attentive and gain the most value from a talk.
- Your talk is a story and you are the one who can tell it the best.
- Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
- Set the theme. “There is something in the air today.” With those words, Jobs opened Macworld. By doing so, he set the theme for his presentation (BusinessWeek.com, 1/15/08) and hinted at the key product announcement—the ultrathin MacBook Air laptop.
- Don’t stray far from who you really are.
- Demonstrate enthusiasm and engage. Encouraging audience interaction provides you with critical feedback during your talk
- In the first 30 seconds you’ll do more to establish your presence on stage than just about any other part of the presentation.
- Try for an unforgettable moment. This is the moment in your presentation that everyone will be talking about. Every Steve Jobs presentation builds up to one big scene. In 2008’s Macworld keynote, it was the announcement of MacBook Air. To demonstrate just how thin it is, Jobs said it would fit in an envelope. Jobs drew cheers by opening a manila interoffice envelope and holding the laptop for everyone to see. What is the one memorable moment of your presentation?
- Sell the benefit. While most presenters promote product features, Jobs sells benefits.
- Don’t remain behind the podium. Roam with a wireless microphone and hands-free slide advancer. This will keep attendees engaged and encourage audience interaction.
Questions Post Presentation:
- Always repeat the question.
- If the person asking the question has a puzzled look on their face when you’re done answering their question, ask this: “Now, what part of your question did I not answer?”
- Pose questions to the audience. This will provide you with feedback and an insight into how your concepts were delivered and accepted with the attendees.
Try to use all of the techniques I describe above in your next presentation. Whether planning an event to recruit speakers or preparing your next presentation for an event, I hope these pointers have been of value in raising the bar of future content delivery.
Will you be joining us in San Diego May 13-15?
If you are a pharma/biotech & medical device marketing professional interested in learning how to enhance your marketing and customer engagement campaigns, consider joining us at our co-located unique ‘TED-style’ 2019 BioPharma & 2019 MedDev eMarketing Summits (May 13-15 2019 – The Marriott La Jolla Hotel, San Diego, CA). We’re almost sold out so sign up today!
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