If you are a speaker at AIEC 2014, or thinking of submitting an abstract in the future, these presentation tips may prove useful to make the most of your experience.
1. Prepare and practice
We encourage you to practice your presentation, probably out loud and if you can manage an audience, even better! Attempting to ‘wing-it’ is not recommended, and is one of the biggest mistakes. People who appear to be “winging it” are often very well prepared.
When you know you have to give a presentation – rehearse out loud with all the equipment you plan on using and revise as necessary.
Practice with a timer to ensure you stick to your allocated time, and allow time for the unexpected, or use a video camera to replay your speech and improve on it.
Prepare some possible questions that you think you might get asked, or have some prepared to give to your session chair to ask (if no one from the audience has any questions).
Preparation and knowledge of your material is a confidence booster, and your audience will appreciate that you are in control of your presentation (not the presentation in control of you!).
If you are speaking on a panel, make sure you have spoken to the panel moderator and know what topics and questions will be discussed and what your contribution will be.
2. Know your audience
Understanding the AIEC audience is an essential ingredient to delivering a great presentation, as you need to communicate your message to a specific group of people. Visit the “See Who’s Coming” page on the conference webpage for a description of who attends the conference and a download the delegate list.
3. Beware of ‘Death by PowerPoint’
While we don’t discourage the use of visual aids, make sure you don’t fall into the ‘Death by PowerPoint’ trap. Endless slides, full of text in tiny font is not really a good idea. A good rule of thumb when using slides is to stick to roughly 1-2 slides per minute of speaking. Also, use the slides as cues for your speech – if you use too much text, the audience will get distracted and read from the slides instead of listening to you!
4. Engage your audience
Try not to read from a script as it will sound flat and boring. If you practiced your speech, it will sound natural and you will be able to use eye contact with the audience. This will also allow you to check if anyone has questions, or to see how people are reacting to the information you are presenting.
A good speaker can sense when the audience is engaged and when they’re not, and carefully adjusts his or her tone, speed, and deliberate pauses throughout the presentation, and may even skip content when necessary.
Some delegates are happy simply listening to what the speaker has to say, and others expect to be ‘entertained’ – While we don’t expect our speakers to be professional ‘comedians’ or ‘entertainers’ (dancing and singing should be avoided!) ensure that you allow for some audience interaction either before, during or after your presentation. For example, some presenters like to ask some questions at the start to get a better idea of who is in the audience, and may do this to get an understanding of the level of experience or the main sector or key interest area representation in the room.
5. Don’t make inappropriate jokes, comments or remarks
AIEC is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race or religion. We strongly advise speakers against making any derogatory or discriminatory remarks during their presentation. To avoid any uncomfortable situations and to avoid any misinterpretations of your remarks, when in doubt, please stick to the script!
6. Stick to your time
Please ensure that your presentation does not go over your allotted time, as every minute that you go over your maximum presentation time is a minute less for other speakers. Therefore, we ask that all speakers be respectful towards their fellow session speakers. All sessions will start and stop on time, and this will be strictly enforced by the session chairs and moderators. Conference crew can assist with time notifications, and ‘time remaining’ signage will be provided in the conference rooms.
7. Take care of logistics on arrival
While we all like to praise the use of technology when things go nicely, we get frustrated when the video doesn’t play, the audio doesn’t work or the slides don’t show.
To ensure things run smoothly on the day, and to avoid any technology issues, make sure you visit the Speakers Preparation Room (Room 10, Mezzanine Level) at least two hours before your session. There will be a technician and an IDP Conference Crew there to help you upload and network your PowerPoint. If you are planning on playing a video, let them know and they will ensure that everything is set-up to avoid any possible delays during your session.
Then, you can relax and enjoy the rest of the conference until its you’re time to shine!
8. Don’t give us a sales pitch!
Speakers from specific companies or company representatives that may appear on the program are chosen because they are bringing lessons learned from a peer-to-peer perspective, and not because they are delivering a sales pitch. The main challenge for you, especially if you work in the PR or marketing department of your organisation, will be to figure out how your talk can contribute to the industry, and articulate that. It’s about what you’ve learned, not about how great your product is.
9. Leave time for Q&A
Audience interaction is very important, and we suggest that you leave 15-25% of your total allocated time to allow for questios from the audience. If you or your session chair are on twitter, let the audience know this at the start of your presentation so you can monitor questions online as well as from the audience.
However, don’t linger on any question for too long. If you feel the audience is wanting more, suggest continuing the conversation outside of the session, perhaps in the Speakers Corner in the Exhibition Hall.
Last but not least, here’s a great blog on ‘Tips for Getting More Tweets as A Conference Speaker’ – Follow us @AIEC or use the conference hashtag #AIEC2014!
Visit the AIEC Speaker Information page on the website to download the Speaker Information and Guidelines.
Good luck and see you soon!