Congratulations! You’ve been invited to speak at your company’s annual user event. Maybe it’s your first time. You’re feeling anxious and unsure how to best prepare. Maybe you’ve done this many times and you’re feeling almost blasé, unknowingly putting yourself at risk of dangerously underpreparing.
Make no mistake about it: a user conference is a big deal for you and your company. It’s a major investment of time, money, and resources. It’s a huge and unique opportunity to positively influence your user community. And it’s a big deal for the attendees. They arrive with high expectations after spending upwards of $4000 and a week of productivity just to be there.
Over many years of attending, speaking at, and preparing speakers for user conferences, I’ve learned there are three all-too-common deadly failures that user conference speakers make.
So, what are the three killer fails? The first one is…
Not Communicating Care-About Value
Right from the start of your session, individual audience members want to feel that you’ll address the things they care about. Fail to make them feel this way, and you risk losing their attention or even having them leave your room.
The following mistakes can be a recipe for failure:
- Delivering an apathy inducing opening
- Using a hard-to-follow structure
- Failing to include memorable stories
The second killer fail is…
Not Projecting Credibly Contagious Conviction
A message that communicates care-about value doesn’t guarantee success. Conference audiences will also constantly evaluate the credibility of the messenger, both consciously and unconsciously. The following “fails” make it hard for the audience to have confidence in you and to pay attention to your content:
- Committing nonverbal self-sabotage
- Having an absence of verbal white space (no pauses, lots of ums and ahs, etc.)
- Projecting well-intended but numbing professionalism
And the final killer fail you should avoid is…
Not Building Trust Interactively
Successful conference speakers know that the best way to build rapport and gain the trust of an audience is to interact with them, usually in the form of inviting and responding to their questions. Yet, interaction is fraught with risk if not handled properly.
Any one of these “fails” can damage your credibility and diminish the impact of your session:
- Being caught unprepared by a question or objection
- Over-reacting defensively when challenged
- Giving vague answers or, even worse, making something up
There’s an old idiom that still proves true: Forewarned is forearmed. Remember, nobody wants your session to fail.
In fact, your audience wants your user conference session to be a smashing success. They want to walk away talking about the tremendous value they got from your session.
The good news is that with awareness of these potential failures, the right presentation skills, and proper preparation and practice, these three fails are all avoidable.
If you’re not sure how to go about doing this, seek out the help or training you need to ensure your user conference session's success.
Do you have a high-profile speaking engagement coming up? Consider Speaker Training with an expert Mandel coach. Quickly gain the skills and prep you need to deliver memorable, results-getting presentations.
What does the hit on Netflix called The Queen’s Gambit tell us about how to sell in a virtual setting? Actually, something very important.
Before we break down how this show teaches us the key to virtual selling let’s look at the backstory.
If your 2020 user conference plans were impacted by the pandemic, you’re not alone. And if, like many, you’ve chosen to move forward by converting to a virtual conference, you’ll be relying more than ever on your speakers’ skills. Share these 8 tips with your virtual conference speakers to help them prepare to impress.
It happened fast. One day you were meeting with your colleagues at the office. The next day you and everyone you work with are working in remote isolation from home. Whether you’re new to working remotely or an experienced veteran, we all need to raise our virtual collaboration game to not only make this new reality work, but to make it work really well. Read on to discover seven practical, high impact tactics you can implement right now to ensure the success of your virtual meetings.
Customers coming to a user conference aren’t there for the fanfare, they’re there for the expertise. If you’re an expert speaking at a user conference, you’re highly knowledgeable and passionate about your topic, but you might not be an expert at speaking in front of an audience. Here are five practical tips that you can implement right away for any upcoming speaking event.
Learn how making a few smart, yet simple, changes to your email can improve your odds of quickly getting the response you need.
Read the blog and learn how to make your next team offsite your most productive yet.
TED Talks have become a go-to example for how to give an engaging presentation from the big stage. They can be informative, inspiring, and often incredibly entertaining. But is the TED Talk format right for a business presentation delivered in a conference room? Probably not — but the skills used by TED Talk presenters definitely are!
Learn how to identify what goes into a successful TED Talk and how to make those skills work for you in your everyday business presentations.
You know your scientists, engineers, and technology experts are the best around. They're proven innovators and solution providers within your organization. Why, then, is presenting to a business audience such a common challenge for technical professionals?
Learn 11 tactics your technical team can use right now to make them more effective and influential communicators for any business decision maker.
Admittedly, I've struggled to find a reliable way to help people reduce their public speaking anxiety, despite years of trying. I’ve advised people to do just about anything I could think of that might help, e.g., breathing, meditation. While I haven't found the thing that works every time for every person, there is one technique that seems to be more effective than most. Even if you've already found something that works well for you, this technique is worth trying out.
Imagine being asked to present to your entire company tomorrow. Does the idea of it make you nervous? You might be tempted to get right to work, writing every word down and committing them to memory. Now, what if I said you couldn’t memorize your talk? Whoa, wait a minute. You wonder, “How am I supposed to remember what to say?”
Find out why memorizing is a terrible idea and what you should do instead to prepare for your next presentation.
- Welcome to the Future of Sales (Hint: It’s Virtual)
- Listen Closely: Your Company Culture Depends On It
- How to Deliver Impactful, Engaging Hybrid Meetings
- Leading a Virtual Team Means Doing Things Differently
- Are You Really Listening?
- 4 Listening Tips for Improving Your Virtual Meetings
- The Irresistible Power of Stories in Virtual Selling
- The Top Sales Skill for 2021!
- Top Virtual Communication Mistakes – and How to Overcome Them in 2021!
- Tell a Story. Close a Deal. Even on Zoom.