How to Deliver a Dynamic Trade Show Seminar
How To Deliver a Dynamic Trade Show Seminar
Deciding to hold a seminar at a trade show is a great way to gain exposure and turn them on to your business’s products or services. In exchange for this exposure, your audience gets your expert insights and knowledge on a particular subject.
However, what a lot of people forget is that giving presentations requires a specific skill-set as well as sufficient preparation. So many presenters fall flat on their faces by giving dull and uninspiring presentations. This does nothing for generating leads or interest in their business. In some cases, it can damage the reputation of their brand.
If you’re going to hold a seminar at your next trade show, make sure you knock it out of the park by taking the following factors on board.
Know Your Audience
Your audience determines how you pitch your presentation. For example, if you’re going to be talking to a group of high-level finance executives, you will need to be polished and professional whereas if your audience comprises animal lovers, coming across as caring and compassionate may be more important.
Understanding your audience will help you set the tone for your presentation and allow you to appeal to them in the best way.
You probably have a lot of knowledge within your industry, but that doesn’t mean that you enjoy every aspect of it. When it comes to a seminar, therefore, it’s a great idea for you to pick a subject that you have passion for. Don’t make the mistake of going for a topic that you think will appeal to an audience but that doesn’t interest you. While you want to give your audience what it wants, a stimulating and engaging talk stems largely from the passion of the speaker.
No matter how much expertise you have on a subject, if it doesn’t set your world on fire, you’re less likely to give a convincing seminar about it.
Create Your Outline
Any presentation starts with a broad outline. You’ll need an introduction followed by the main content and a suitable ending.
Break the main content into defined sections with appropriate pause points in-between. List the information points required within each section. This will help you to fill in the content detail later.
Don’t go into the detail of your presentation until you are satisfied that the content flows logically from beginning to end.
Create Your Materials
The most exciting seminars include the use of visual aids or even props to bring your speech to life.
While a very handy tool, be sure to avoid “death by Powerpoint.” This is where your speech is effectively duplicated into visual form. Any slides should support your speech, not copy it.
Use images or diagrams that work with what you are saying. If you must use text, limit it to no more than five short bullet points per slide.
Don’t be afraid to use props either. For example, if you are talking about a product, it can help the understanding of the audience if you have the physical item in front of you, instead of an image on a slide.
Practice, practice, practice… then practice some more!
The best presenters sound as though their seminar is effortless, but they have rehearsed their speeches to perfection. Practicing includes asking colleagues to listen to your material in advance and taking their feedback on board.
This is your chance to refine your seminar and tweak it so that it flows better. You will be able to tell if one section drags on a bit or if an area isn’t clear enough.
Every time you make a change to your presentation, run through it again to make sure it works.
Practice until you can do it with your eyes closed. No audience wants to see its speaker reading from cue-cards or, worse still, from their Powerpoint slides. By knowing what you are saying, you can speak confidently and directly to your audience.
Audience participation adds a dynamic twist to any seminar. Whether it’s getting someone up on stage to take part in an activity or encouraging questions, make your audience part of your show.
People like to feel included, so engage your audience as much as possible.
However, take care not to force anyone to participate. Some people are incredibly uncomfortable when placed in this situation. As a rule of thumb, you should ask for participants and only invite those that have actively volunteered.
Sweep the Room
Eye contact matters when presenting. The classic way to include all audience members is by sweeping the room from left to right with your eyes. Don’t be afraid to catch people’s eyes and hold their gaze for a moment.
If possible, walking from one side of the stage to another will enable you to engage the whole room easily.
Don’t Um and Ahh
As part of your practice sessions, get people to listen for any comfort words or sounds that you may overuse. This includes “ums” and “ahhs” and other common noises or words that people use during a sentence. “Comfort words” are used between sentences and have no place in the actual speech. “Like,” “obviously,” and “so” are common comfort words. While they are natural in conversational speech, they are typically best avoided during a seminar.
Many people dread giving seminars and forget that it’s meant to be an enjoyable experience. Stage fright can be conquered. You will be more confident if you know that you know your presentation inside out and that you have practiced it sufficiently.
Smile before you walk on stage. Smile when you see your audience. Smile throughout your speech. Not only does your voice change when you are smiling, but by acting more at ease, you’ll feel much more at ease and so will your audience.
It’s not always easy to find the courage to get up on stage and deliver a dynamic seminar, especially if you’re not a natural performer. Taking the right steps to prepare your subject matter and speech, however, will set you up for success.