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  • Glenn van Zutphen

Speaking at Conferences

A big advantage of conference speaking is that it establishes you as an authority in your field. By presenting your knowledge, research, or case studies, you demonstrate competence, experience, and passion. You also show your ability to communicate clearly, confidently, and persuasively.

But you have to nail it!

Here are a few tips so you can make the most of your opportunity.

Top Five Conference Panelists You Don't Want to Be

In our experience, panelists often fall into distinct categories. They don't all show up to every panel discussion, but they do apply to both men and women (but usually men!).

The Loud Mouth

Answers first and seems to never shut up. While often knowledgeable, they don’t know when to stop. The audience easily gets tired of them droning on and dominating the discussion. The Mouse We never hear from this person. Sitting patiently, waiting for an invitation to talk. They may have great insight and knowledge, but are not confident or just not sure when or how to speak up. The Professor A knowledge expert who insists on showing the audience that they know it all, even though it may not be useful or memorable to the audience. They give far too much information. Audiences don't need or want a history lesson! The Bully Takes apparent joy in being needlessly confrontational and contrarian. They grandstand and take a reality TV talk show mentality toward the discussion. There is nothing wrong with alternative points of view, but be smart in how you present them. The Salesperson Uses the airtime to promote themselves or their company ad nauseam and neglect the topic. By all means, briefly tell your story, but not at the expense of what's valuable to the audience. Instead of the bad examples above, be a panelist that everyone wants to listen to: The Pro Knows when to jump in and what to say - in a confident, credible, and clear way. They know when to stop talking.They use memorable anecdotes, appropriate data, and/or studies. They think in advance about what their audience will want to hear and prepare one or two key messages that are easy to say and remember.

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