There are approximately 230 speaking slots available in the conference programme at MWC this year. And many of these are panels, with multiple speakers on stage at once. Wow.
If your company or exec is due to be presenting at one of those, how can you make sure they stand out, and resonate with the audience during and after the event?
The point of a speaking slot is not to sell, or to tell the audience everything your company or division has achieved in recent months. People have marketing campaigns, websites, press releases, sales reps and so many other ways to do that. Your job is to be the face of the brand, and communicate a message in an emotive, powerful way – differentiating you from the rest of the industry.
These are the four things that make a great speech.
- A clear message
Imagine there’s a journalist or an influencer in the audience for your speech. There probably is. What headline would you want them to write about following your talk? That’s your message.
- Tell a human interest story
People want to be able to relate to you and to the subject matter in your talk. They don’t want to hear corporate-speak about teams, culture, innovation, or even products. They want to be told a story about a person or a group of people. You have to decide if that story is funny, confronting, inspirational or even worrying, and then stick to that narrative.
Despite my advice in point two, inspiring language and bold statements need to be backed-up. What’s your evidence? This could be external research, personal anecdotes, your own product news, or even graphics that explain what you are talking about. The trick is to weave these in seamlessly, without letting the proof-points become the content of the talk. Use them sparingly, and they’ll be more powerful because of it.
- Have great slides
It’s so obvious, but it’s still true. Your slides are for the audience, not for you. If you are using them for your own bullet points or talking points, you’re doing it wrong. That’s your talk track. Your slides should highlight information, provide emphasis and help the audience understand what you mean. This could be through a few words, an image, a data point, a brand logo, or a graphic. Less is more.
Finally, have fun with it! You have a captive audience and a chance to show why you’re not just another exec in jeans and blazer.
Good luck to everyone speaking at the show, Hotwire will be there to represent, and if you’d like any support with executive profiling and speaking slots, you can contact our corporate strategy team through me at Eleanor.Sampson@hotwireglobal.com, or on LinkedIn here.
If you're not comfortable with public speaking - and nobody starts out comfortable; you have to learn how to be comfortable - practice. I cannot overstate the importance of practicing. Get some close friends or family members to help evaluate you, or somebody at work that you trust. - Hillary Clinton