5 Secrets For Successful Conferences
Big conference coming up? With 8-10 executive and team leader presentations…how can you be 100% certain of success? It comes down to answering this question: is everyone confident with his or her presentation skills?
In many organizations, conferences are the time to share ideas, collaborate and boost momentum. Often events include ‘report outs’ from team leaders. This is a terrific way to gain an overview of key initiatives, priorities and intersections. Whether you are working across functions or across regions, these leadership presentations set the tone for your entire event.
Oops. There is a big ‘BUT.’ What if some executives dread speaking to a large group? What if some subject matter experts are more confident than others? The audience will feel it. They’ll have a clear and compelling picture from one team. However, from another…they’ll feel fuzzy about outcomes.
To add insult to injury, audiences watching a series of 8-10 presentations get confused and overwhelmed. In spite of a leader’s best intentions, it’s tough to create a pithy 7-minute overview.
How can you get maximum impact? Follow these 5 steps to gain ‘lift off’ for your event.
Step 1. Involve Leaders In Agenda Planning
Many organizations plan events. The most successful ones include leaders in building the agenda.
Gain buy-in for the story flow, timing and sequence of the event. By including team leaders and executives early on, leaders will be on the same page. This is a smart practice for gaining team buy-in before you begin.
Step 2. Slash Presentation Stress
Some executives exude natural confidence. Others…well, they’d rather be anywhere else than up on stage. To reduce headaches, panic or stress about presenting, be proactive.
Provide leaders with a storyboard to organize their ideas. Using a presentation storyboard helps presenters streamline messages. In addition, provide a presentation template for rapid design. Organize the template so leaders don’t have to do the work of planning a compelling story.
Step 3. Leverage Individual Strengths
Over the years, I’ve noticed that many leaders push presentation skills training off their ‘top priority’ list. It ends up as the ‘nice’ but ‘not urgent’ thing to do.
That is…until an event is on the calendar. If you notice that leaders are struggling or avoiding planning presentations, provide individual coaching. In a confidential environment it is easier to help each leader with their specific presentation questions.
The good news is with one-on-one coaching, it’s much easier to give people the kind of emergency coaching they need.
Step 4. Show and Tell The Story
In many organizations, leaders rely on PowerPoint slides to deliver their presentation. The best way to get the message across is to supplement slide presenting with real-time graphic capturing.
A skilled story boarder captures the essence in a colorful combination of pictures and words. This adds depth and longevity to each presentation. Charts created during the meeting stay on the wall…long after the slide presentation is over. Participants reflect on the information during the rest of the event. This leads to healthy discussion and ongoing collaboration.
Step 5. Connect The Dots
For maximum impact, make sure that you connect the dots. Show how diverse presentations weave together into a single compelling story. Tie the slide presentations together with the messages shown in graphic wall charts.
One of the best ways to achieve this is to use an external meeting facilitator. He or she will show how one presentation connects to the other, pulling the threads through from slides to charts to activities.
By following these 5 steps, you’ll create a dramatic conference…and boost presentation skills at the same time.