[Offering your expertise as a guest speaker is an excellent way to introduce yourself, your company and your products or services to potential customers. You have immediate credibility and a captive, pre-qualified audience. So how do you make the most of this type of opportunity?
First, it’s not a presentation. So try to go easy on the self-promotion. You’ve been asked to speak because you are an expert. Talk about ideas, insights and the marketplace. Give them information they can use. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about yourself, but do it in the context of your case studies or examples.
Don’t forget about the audience. Are they middle-level managers? C-level executives? Business owners? Also, be sure to find out where you are in the program. Is it an all-day meeting and you’re the 3:00 speaker? Or are you the first one of the day? These tidbits of information should help you craft a presentation with the right information, tone and energy level.
Once you know whom you’re talking to and what you’re going to say, try to avoid gimmicks or A/V tricks. Sure, PowerPoint works great to highlight some facts or enhance some visuals. But just standing there, reading the slides to them is not going to make anyone ohh and ahh about your expertise. And besides, if they fall asleep, they’ll never hear what you have to say.
When you think about the presentations that you really enjoyed and talked about afterward, they were engaging, insightful, and they connected on a personal level. You didn’t feel preached to or a hard-sell push. If you think in those terms””that you are there to share yourself””the business will come naturally, as will more speaking invitations!
Until next month…