You’ve taken the plunge and submitted your name to speak at a conference. Maybe you were personally asked to present. Either way, congrats superstar. Now the hard work begins.
If you’re looking to promote your professional skills, experience, and opinion leadership, speaking at a conference is a great way to boost your profile. How much you milk this opportunity is up to you. There are a few things you can do to maximize the visibility of a speaking engagement.
Before your presentation
1. Promote your attendance and build hype
Congrats, you’ve just been confirmed as a speaker at [insert awesome conference here]. You’ll probably be asked to confirm your topic description, bio, and headshot for the event website. Do it as soon as possible. Once your information is up on the event’s website, you can start cross-promoting on your own channels and professional networks.
Be your own hype man. Sometimes you’ll be speaking at the same time as three to four other people in different tracks. Building hype can help sway people over to your presentation.
2. Refresh your website and business cards
You’ll be driving traffic to your own website as will the event’s website. Are you ready? Do a quick audit of your website, blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, GitHub, etc.. to make sure all your information is up to date. If you’ve been putting off a website update, now might be the time to clean it up. If you need new business cards or to order more swag to bring with you, make sure you place your orders well in advance.
3. Create a great presentation
Create a killer presentation. If you’re new to this, find a mentor to coach you through the prep. Read up on presentation tips and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
At the event
4. Be present
Be prepared for your presentation and if appropriate, be active on Twitter by using the event hashtag before and after your presentation. If you have friends or colleagues with you, ask them to help promote your talk and quote you live on social media. Take questions from the audience if the event allows it, and follow up with attendees that might not have gotten to ask their question.
5. Network and volunteer to help
Is there an after party? Go. A speed-networking session or speed-mentoring session? Sign up. Do they need volunteers for a drop-in help booth? If you think you can help, you should!
6. Don’t be a snob
Talk to everyone, not just people you think will help you move up. It’s good to look up who is attending and make a game plan for any worthwhile conversations and introductions, but don’t be a snob about your networking goals.
After the event
7. Publish your slides and turn them into a blog post
You worked hard on that content, repurpose it! Write a blog post and make your slides available on Slideshare and on your own site. Turn your talk into a podcast or a video tutorial and share widely. Was your presentation filmed? Great! Publish and promote the video!
8. Talk about the event and thank the organizers
Share your experience online through a few social media posts or a blog post. Personally and publicly thank the organizers, (or the sponsors, the community, the event space) for the opportunity to be a part of the event. Congratulate other speakers and speak well of the event. Post a few photos too.
9. Follow up with your new connections
Meet some cool people? Any possible business partnerships or opportunities you need to follow up on? Do it before the post-event window has closed.
10. Book your next speaking engagement
Take a breather and congratulate yourself on a job well done. Then start thinking about when and where to do it all over again!