Monday, July 19, 2010

The networked speaker: 10 ways to make the most of your next gig

As a networked communicator, you're more likely to be asked to speak--but are you making the most of those visible networking opportunities?  Here's how to become a networked speaker who makes the most of each presentation gig:

  1. Business cards are a must--but your regular cards may not be just right. Consider special cards for your speaking gigs that point audiences to your blog, resources online about this talk (see below) or how to engage you for another speech.  Add your photo to help audience members remember you, or make mini-cards so they're easy to keep separate from your regular business cards.
  2. QR (quick response) codes are easy-to-make graphic codes in which you can embed links to your online profiles, discounts on your book, or your contact information. You can print them on business cards, stickers or your name badge; audience members need only point their smartphone barcode readers, take a picture and later download the information. Fast and easy for everyone.
  3. A special website for advance information can include your full bio, a summary of your talk, your slides, options for audience members and others to post questions in advance, and links to your Twitter feed, Facebook page and more.  Check out Flavors.me, which lets you pull together all your social networking and web presences, or Posterous.com, where you can grab a custom URL, and even add to your blog posts via email.
  4. Followup on the web after your talk by posting video, photos, answers to questions, your slides and more. Share those QR codes here, and add links to related content.  One tactic I like:  Get video of your audience's questions, then post them online with written answers and links, to make your followup presence on the web useful and interactive.
  5. Work your social networks.  On Twitter, share a hashtag so others outside the room can follow along, and troll for advance questions.  On Facebook, post an event notice, encourage advance questions, and post your slides and photos. Use all your social networks to share links to coverage of your talk.
  6. Work the room before you speak, introducing yourself to audience members, asking what their questions are, finding out more about them. Greet them at the door or move around the room; this will keep you energized and connected, and the more you know about them, the more pertinent your remarks. Hand out those cards and QR codes--it's much easier to circulate cards before you speak, rather than after.
  7. Work the halls after and make yourself available. Remember that many audience members will not want to stand up and pose a question in front of the crowd. Today, "working the halls" also may mean answering followup questions on those other hallways, Twitter and Facebook. Don't forget those outside the room.
  8. Keep better track of those you meet in person. Need to remember someone you've connected with after your talk? Use the Evernote app on your phone to take a picture of them with their name badge on; once you've loaded that into an Evernote notebook, you can search for it using the words on the badge.
  9. Learn about co-presenters and panelists in advance and share a few pertinent links and profiles with them so they know something about you.  Can you research and reference one of their online articles or talks in your remarks?  Connect with them on social networks, now that you're getting to know one another.
  10. Work with your organizers.  What can they tell you about the audience? Are they making a special website for the panel on which you can share advance information? If not, let them know about yours. Ask them to share links to your blog, your online profiles and any advance information you're posting with the members of the group before you speak.  Are you offering a discount for the group or looking for advance questions?  The organizers can include that in their emails, newsletters and web postings.
Related posts:  The networked communicator: Rethink online profiles, 7 ways

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