How To Stand Out From the Crowd
How do you make your presentation memorable and stand out in a long day of conference speeches?
“Ta Daa!” Introducing, YOU!
And in you come dancing to a funky soundtrack, boa feather trailing behind, your newly shaved head reflecting the strobe lights… is this the kind of big entrance you’d like to make when you give a presentation? Yes, you will be memorable unless of course your colleagues also read this article and boa feather sales go through the roof. Ok, I digress.
Here’s a short homemade video I made a while back, about engaging and holding audience attention from the get-go:
Making an Entrance & Holding Attention
Making an entrance engages attention from the moment the MC calls your name. An interested audience is a listening audience. And they remain listening as long as you offer lots of delicious, useful information. Useful to them, that is.
After your entrance, I recommend you focus on creating a connection with your audience, before you even open your mouth. Take the time to be present and take a breath with your listeners. Look ‘em in the eye. You will immediately make a second memorable impact as acknowledging your audience first is surprisingly rare. Bit of a nod, eye contact, a smile. Costs nothing, takes less than a minute, yet generates credibility, appreciation and attention.
Now we need to take a step back from the stage and discuss what happens before you create your presentation. Ask yourself this foundational question: “What do I want to be remembered for?” Your answer will determine the clarity with which you deliver your speech to conference delegates.
Now I am not talking about a deathbed legacy (although that may also be relevant). I mean, imagine how listeners might summarise your presentation over lunch or back at the office. Have you delivered a meaningful 30 second-ish munchable sound bite? This isn’t manipulative marketing, it’s practical common sense. Conferences and Events are information overloads. Your job as a presenter, is to make your information relevant and easy to digest. For them. If you are clear, they will be clear. Be relevant and you will be remembered for more than just making an entrance.
Purpose: What Do You Want to Be Remembered For?
People present to audiences for many reasons. What have been yours? Have you ever been unclear and wondered about the dodgy outcome?
To help you crystallise your memorable message, decide which of the Purpose examples below resonate. Do you want to be remembered for:
- Being an entertaining and informative speaker that brings joy to a heavy program?
- Delivering an inspiring vision that generates new thoughts in your industry?
- Providing cutting edge data to benefit the practice of colleagues?
- Standing out from the crowd and building a distinct profile?
Being clear about what you want your speech to be remembered for is similar to being clear about your purpose. Both act like a rudder, steering your speech and audience on an impactful journey toward a powerful conclusion.
How to Prepare to Stand Out from the Crowd
- Put time aside to research practical things like how many people will attend, where you’ll stand, microphones, if you’ll be introduced and what they’ll say, so that you’ll set up your speech confidently from the start.
- You are “on” as your name is called. Don’t slink in, pretending to be lost in intellectual thought or your notes!
- Roll your shoulders gently back, head and chest up, and take a strong, stable stance with room to move.
- Establish your physical and energetic presence by taking some breaths with your audience. You are saying non-verbally: “I see you, I hear you and I’m with you.” Being present is literally a present, for your listeners.
- Practice your speech; include the timing for your entrance, exit, pauses and even pfaffing around with slides. Ask friends for feedback. Record yourself. Are there any flat or confusing bits? Is there too much detail or not enough? Are you sure every bit of your talk relevant to your listeners? Is your message a clear and memorable sound bite?
Lasting Beyond Making an Entrance
Making an entrance is entertaining for a moment. To make a long term, memorable impact when you speak, you need to understand and deliver what your audience hungers for: personal connection and value to them. If you can do these 2 things, you will be a memorable stand-out in the conference program, way beyond your entrance.