Conference Season - Public Speaking 101
I was recently honored to speak on a panel at the NALCAB national training conference. NALCAB (National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders) is a tremendous membership and advocacy organization for community development organizations who serve Hispanic populations. From affordable housing to small business support and transition services, opportunities for socioeconomic advancement are more abundant than ever before, and it was very exciting to present and learn at this conference.
Presenting at conferences isn't for everyone, but here are some tricks to help you get your ideas (and name) out there.
- No Fluff. You're not there to present common knowledge or regurgitate facts everyone in the room knows. Only agree to present if you bring something new and innovative to the table.
- Relax. People attend conferences to learn, develop, and network. They didn't take time away from their families and daily routine to judge you. Nervous presenters often forget crucial pieces of content, are dry, or can be hard to follow. Take a deep breath, remember that you're among friends, and just have a casual conversation with your audience.
- Bring Props and Visuals. If your audience wanted to read exactly what you're saying on a text-filled powerpoint slide, they'd likely just read a journal article. Part of presenting vibrantly is knowing your content and using visual aides and props to enhance the content. Use your slides to show pictures, create metaphors, and make your presentation memorable.
- Be your Visual. If you're speaking on a panel or don't have access to visual aides, be your own visual. Present energetically, be genuine and passionate, and have a joke or anecdote in your back pocket.
- Always follow up. If attendees ask questions afterward or slip you their business card, make sure to follow up. You never know when you'll make a needed connection that could take you or your mission to the next step.