Three huge mistakes presenters make

Originally published on LinkedIn

People attend conferences to learn new ideas, new processes, and to network with colleagues who share their passion. But don’t kid yourself by thinking presenters have the same intentions – they are their to sell their wares. This huge disconnect often means that presenters make some pretty serious mistakes when they take the stage and here are the top three.

Please don’t take pictures of my slides: The first phrase that pops into my head after hearing that from a speaker beginning their talk is ‘why are you showing them to me then?’ If your audience can’t FULLY engage in your presentation, and that means tweeting what you say, taking pictures of your slides and facebooking them, and downloading your fully available slides, then your presentation is not ready to give. Wait until every slide is publicly available so that you don’t disappoint your audience. It is not a ‘treat’ to be told that they are getting an advance peek. It is a disappointment that they can’t share it with anyone.

I’m late for another meeting: This is another insult to the audience. Yes, we know you are very busy and very important but so am I and I am sitting right in front of you begging for your attention. If you can’t dedicate time before and after your presentation to your audience, then do not take that speaking engagement. Ideally, stay the whole day. People will come up to during the day and tell you what they liked and disliked about your presentation and they will spark some pretty interesting conversations. Everyone of those conversations is a brand awareness conversation and a chance to share your expertise. Your expertise is what will result in a sale, not you rushing off to talk to the next person in your queue. Besides, your audience made time to stay the whole day because they knew they would learn something. Chances are that you don’t know everything either and you would learn something too.

I should tell you what my company does first: People don’t attend conferences to learn about the five year history of your company, your mission, your vision, or its product portfolio. Despite what you think, none of that will help them understand your presentation better and none of that will help you make a sale. All you’ve done is annoy people while you waste 5 minutes that could have been used to share more information. People go to conferences to learn about new ideas. If your idea is clearly and confidently explained with lots of good examples and lots of interesting insights, people will seek you out. They will go to your website and learn more about what you do. They will search for you after your presentation and beg for a one-to-one conversation. Your expertise and personal attention will result in sale


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