5 Key Elements of Successful and Efficient Conference Presenters

  • Be a slave to rehearsals… – no doubt you’ve probably heard it before, but even if you’re a seasoned veteran rehearsing is essential to a successful and effective web conference. Ideally your test run should come as close to the real thing as possible (i.e. be held the same room you will be presenting in, using the same equipment, even similar hand movements and expressions) to ensure you are able to iron out any possible unforeseen issues. While you cannot predict every unforeseen event, rehearsing dramatically increases efficiency; and in the event a glitch arises, don’t stress – it happens to everyone sooner or later – just keep calm, and carry on to the best of your ability. Maybe even keep a couple jokes on standby that you can use in the event your computer crashes, or another technical error surfaces.
  • …but don’t be a slave to slides – sure, slides can be very informative and helpful in almost any conference, but the key is moderation. Reading verbatim from every slide you present is boring and loses the interest and attention of your audience. Stick to bullet points on slides, and use them as a springboard to engage in active conversation and collaboration.
  • Put your own spin on it – while rehearsing, try and find a conversational/presentation style that you feel comfortable with. This will help put your audience at ease as they will feel more confident about what you are presenting than they would if you were reading directly off your slides and sounding like a robot. Helpful hint: the more familiar you are with the topic or material you are presenting, the easier this will be.
  • Enjoy it! – when you have fun with your presentation it shows, and if you’re passionate about whatever it is you are presenting, chances are your audience will become just as excited about it. Keep your energy high by going on a short, brisk walk or getting some fresh air just before presenting. And most importantly, SMILE! Even if you are only conducting an audio conference, people might not be able to see it, but they certainly can hear it in your voice.
  • Avoid ‘ums’ and ‘uhs’ – this can be difficult for many of us, but these verbal tics act as instantaneous cues for an audience to tune you out and are the bane of all presenters. Whether it’s due to nerves, fear, a lack of product or service knowledge or confidence, rehearsing helps eliminate them – or at least keep them to an absolute minimum. Another helpful hint: if you are recording your conference and happen to have a case of the ‘ums and uhs,’ see if they can edit them out of your recording.