Brent Stewart

Live life on purpose

First conference speaking engagement post-mortem

Well, I survived my first time speaking at a a conference and thought I would share some of the things that I learned.

Know your material

I know it sounds obvious, but make sure you know your material backwards and forwards because anything you can forget you will.  The added stress of having a group of people staring at you means that it is hard to recall anything that is not automatic.  While I knew most of my material very well, there was still a bit that I changed last minute and of course when the pressure was on I struggled to remember everything that I was planning on saying.

Have a paper copy of what to check before you start

I had an a list of things to check before my talk, but it was on my phone.  The speaker before me took a long time breaking down his setup, so I felt like I was in a hurry to get everything setup and in the hustle and bustle I forgot to pull up my list and I forgot to prep  some things that threw me for a loop during the presentation.

Engage with your audience prior to starting the presentation

This is one area where I felt I did decent, but could improve.  I talked with individuals as they came in and talked with the group and tried to get them comfortable with interacting, but you should never underestimate the awkwardness of a room full of introverts.  This is something that I have noticed that all of the speakers that I look up to seem to do well with.

Relax and enjoy the experience

I know this is easier said than done, but take a moment just prior to your session and appreciate where you are and how fortunate you to be able to do this.   

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