SPEAKING EFFECTIVELY: HOW TO MAKE AN IMPACT AT INDUSTRY EVENTS

March 28, 2024

Whether your next industry talk involves launching a product, giving a tutorial, or discussing an important topic, speaking effectively is the key to success. It can make the difference between giving a boring presentation and a TED Talk-level speech that will get your message remembered by all who attend.

 

At Liaison, we’ve done our fair share of media training, turning 3D and technology professionals into seasoned speakers. We’ve also moderated, planned, and prepared our clients for talks at numerous industry events. We’re about to do it again at Vertex on April 19 in London, with a panel we’ve put together on Navigating the VFX Industry in Uncertain Times.

 

With a wealth of experience around industry events, we’re sharing our top tips for speaking effectively in industry talks. But first, let’s answer some of the biggest questions we get asked on the topic.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SPEAK EFFECTIVELY?

Truth is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to speaking effectively. Everybody has a different way of talking and presenting, and there are many reasons a talk might not land.

 

For some, public speaking may be an absolute nightmare and nerves can show. Others might be so confident in their natural charm and wit that they forget the fundamentals of a good talk and don’t deliver the right message. The key to avoiding both these scenarios is to always find a way to connect with your audience. If you make that connection, you have spoken effectively.

 

WHY IS SPEAKING AT EVENTS IMPORTANT?

Speaking at events is important because:

 

  • It helps establish your brand as an authority in your space. We’re all much happier to place our trust in a company that knows its industry and understands the needs of its customers.

 

  • It allows you to say things that don’t fit neatly into a press release or most marketing materials. Some concepts need more time, and speeches allow you to present in a compelling way that people want to talk about.

 

  • A good talk will demonstrate your values, expertise, and passion to the audience. Plus, a reputation for delivering great talks will ensure that speaking offers keep rolling in.

 

  • Your brand visibility will be increased. Not only will your name be on programs, schedules, and event previews, but your talk could land press coverage and even online views if it’s recorded or streamed.

 

  • It provides a valuable opportunity to network with peers. The benefits of connecting with professionals who share your goals and interests can’t be overstated. Down the line, they may even partner with you on exciting ventures or recommend you as an expert. In our experience, some of the most exciting opportunities arise from chance meetings at industry events.

HOW TO FIND SPEAKING OPPORTUNITIES

Over the years we’ve found a few effective ways to secure speaking opportunities. The three most effective are to:

 

1. Let it be known that you’re open to offers — Make it easy for event organizers to reach you with a post on LinkedIn or a contact form on your website and you’ll be able to choose between any offers. Remember that you should always go to the events that get you closest to your desired audience.

 

2. Do some research — See which events work best for your brand and the message you want to convey, then contact any you’d like to speak at. If you work in the 3D and technology industries you might want to check out our rundown of the best events to attend in 2024. Perhaps some of them will be ideal speaking opportunities for your brand.

 

3. Hire a PR agency — As a PR and content agency that’s been working in the 3D graphics space for over 25 years, we are well-connected and can position you as a thought leader to event organizers, as well as plan and help prepare you for talks.

 

Now that we’ve covered some frequently asked questions, here are our top tips for speaking effectively at industry events:

7 TIPS FOR SPEAKING EFFECTIVELY AT INDUSTRY EVENTS

1. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

It’s a universally acknowledged truth that the more you practice something, the better it’ll go. When it comes to public speaking, the trick is to deliver your speech enough times that on the day-of, it feels like just another run-through. Practice it on your family, friends, colleagues, or the bedroom mirror, whatever helps you to hone your talk. Ask for honest feedback and gauge the reactions of anyone you practice on to make your speech more effective. Just remember to keep it natural—you don’t want the final talk to sound stilted.

 

 

2. BE A HUMAN

The audience for any industry talk wants to see the speaker’s passion for their chosen subject. That’s why watching a talk on YouTube can be so much more entertaining than reading an article. Inspire the audience with your enthusiasm—don’t be afraid to address them directly, laugh, and show some emotion throughout your talk. You could even incorporate improvisation, which experts like Amit Kukreja cite as a key skill for public speaking. By being more human, you’ll make a more lasting impression.

 

 

3. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

When you agree to speak at an event, you should research the audience before planning your talk. Remember that you’re trying to communicate a message to them, and it’s tough to connect with people if you don’t know what’s important to them. Every talk should be tailored to who’s in the audience, even if you just make subtle tweaks.

4. DON’T STICK TO A SCRIPT

A talk at an industry event isn’t meant to be Shakespeare and you don’t need to memorize an annotated script to make it work. Outline what you want to say and flesh it out with asides, humor, and detail as you rehearse. Leave space to engage with your audience if the opportunity arises and your talk will be more effective.

 

5. UTILIZE VISUAL AIDS

Visuals are an important aspect of any great talk and they serve multiple purposes. Besides helping you to remember your next point, they can hold the audience’s attention as they switch focus between your words and what’s on the screen behind you. Photos, diagrams, and charts can also make things easier to understand, so you don’t get bogged down by complex explanations. All our favorite TED Talks use visual aids to great effect—check out these examples.

6. EMBRACE THE IMPERFECT

Speaking effectively isn’t the same as speaking perfectly. Even the very best public speakers trip over their words and make mistakes. Revisit some of your favorite talks or speeches from over the years and you’ll notice it too. Plenty of practice will reduce the chances of any slip-ups, but these things happen, so don’t consider your talk a failure if it happens to you. As long as your message is heard loud and clear, you’ve spoken effectively.

 

 

7. FINISH STRONG

The end of your presentation is going to leave everyone with a maximum of three things to think about, so figure out what you want to leave them with, and find a way to make an impact with it. Circling back to a question or point from the beginning of your talk is a popular way to close, as is summarizing your key points. Or, you could end with a compelling anecdote or memorable quote that reflects your message. Alternatively, use your visual aids and end with a noteworthy image that’ll stick in everyone’s mind.

 

Need some help securing speaking opportunities or preparing for an industry event? Contact us today.