I don't speak much but I have a few opportunities coming up. How can I make sure attendees consider their time well spent?
Most of all, make sure they hear and see something memorable. This means a solid and timely topic to present. Nothing is less memorable than a talk that is loosely organized, that they have heard before, or that is hard to follow. Even if it is a topic you know well, update it with references to current or emerging aspects of your audience's industry, professional discipline or region. Set a standard of at least one-quarter of the content should be outside the "conventional wisdom."
Two quick tips. First, do something different from every other presentation and speech your audience sees. This could be a contest or a series of questions to the audience about the topic. You will engage them as well as gather some market research about audience awareness or attitudes about the topic. They will remember because they were engaged and learned something about how others saw the topic. Make it challenging.
Second, make it easy for the audience to connect with you after the event. They may remember you the day of the event, but you asked how to make them remember you weeks or years after the event. The usual strategies apply: hand out your business cards, make sure your contact info is on your slides, put a handout on every seat before your talk, and collect business cards from all attendees. Consider a reference guide or a summary booklet of your speech in place of just a business card. Tip:
You want to know who is most interested in your expertise under the assumption that they are future clients or partners. Offer something through your website related to your talk, preferably an update or subscription to your speaking topic. This will let you know who is really interested in you and your expertise and provide an ongoing way to engage them in a conversation about the topic. This does not have to be a formal newsletter; it could even be a monthly email from you on trends in your topic. Don't make it harder than need be, and start to use information from your correspondence with your community. © 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA