How to Give a Great Talk

by: Shama Hyder

Giving talks is a great marketing strategy. It can help identify you as an expert in your field, allow you face time with potential clients, and help you get your message out. 

But what does it take to give a great talk? Here are 5 ways to help you get a standing ovation…

1. Go beyond the basics

The basics are what your audience already knows. And yes, this step requires knowing your audience. If you really want to capture attention, go beyond the familiar. Just think about all the times you have been bored by a speaker because you already knew what they were talking about. Don’t be that speaker! If you are covering a familiar topic, find ways to make it more interactive. Don’t be afraid to innovate. Shaking things up is better than boring.

2. Build up the buzz before you talk

At SXSW, the panels that filled up the fastest were the ones that people already had a fair idea about. Friends told friends, and before you knew it there wasn’t enough room to sit down.

The next time you give a talk-build up the buzz. Recruit a few audience members, give them an insider peak at your talk and ask them to get the word out.

3. Use slides, props, visual aids

The traditional knowledge says ditch the power point slides. That doesn’t always work when the majority of learners are visual learners. Use slides, props, and other visual aids. But keep them relevant and don’t use them as crutches.

4. Take questions

Always factor in time for questions. It makes simple talks much more interactive, and it allows you to see if people really understood your talk. This type of direct feedback is invaluable.

5. Don’t get mad at the audience

Sometimes people will walk out. Some audience members may question you accusingly. Others may act as if they could care less about what you have to say. Take it all in stride. The worst thing you can do is get mad at them. The best thing to do is to take constructive criticism and ignore the rest. Your goal is to get better each time you talk.

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  • Vicky

    Good advice. Especially the last part. I have seen that happen with speakers and it’s not pretty. I also like the visual aids suggestions. If I wanted to watch a movie that’s what I’d do. If I use my time to go somewhere to hear you speak, that’s what I want to do, not watch a bunch of slides.

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  • Shama

    Thanks Vicky!

    It’s really important to find the right balance between using visual aids and going solo.