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Do You Speak Well For Your Brand?
By: Clifton Simmons
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There are plenty of events vying for your time, and if your company has the budget, you are probably investigating which cool city has the best event to check out. But as a speaker, are you making it a boondoggle or beneficial boondoggle for the attendee?
 
There you are, standing before a room with your PowerPoint deck and case studies. You speak. Click to next slide. You speak some more. Click. Unless you have one hell of a slide show, ask yourself if there is some way you can dress it up even more?
 
Remember, unless you have some celebrity status, you’re not representing yourself. You are the brand ambassador. The audience may not remember your name after the show, but they will remember whom you represented.  
 
So how do you put on a good brand face? Here’s some thoughts from a spectator’s point of view:
 
You don’t have to be the best speaker in the room (though it helps), but it’s important to be the smartest speaker in the room. If people are there to pick your brain, the pickings better not be slim. It’s your show. You need to be the most knowledgeable on the subject.
 
That leads to being passionate about your work. I once attended an event where a brand manager jokingly told the audience that he just wrote his presentation on the plane ride over that day. The moment he started, the audience knew it wasn’t a joke. Yet, we were supposed to take him seriously about the key role he played in that brand’s recent successes.
 
Why wait for Q&A at the end? Discussions and debates are far more interesting and, not to mention, more engaging than a lone voice in the room. And if you happen to make a brilliant point during your presentation, what’s wrong with a follow-up question from the crowd?
 
In fact, anyone who attends a presentation better be armed with at least one question. You’re not getting your money’s worth if you don’t challenge the speaker in some fashion. That doesn’t mean going PETA commando on them and turn a question into an interrogation. But if you feel they are only scratching the surface of the subject matter, then it’s to your benefit to push them to go a little deeper.
 
Back to the speaker — if you can’t answer their question today, it’s important to follow up tomorrow. Email a response to the person who asked the question. Better yet, post answers on a public forum where everyone can address it. No brand’s web site or FB page ever suffers from adding new content. If you actually make a brilliant PowerPoint deck, make one you are willing to share and send to your audience.
 
Just keep in mind that some attendees have to justify their trip to see you and share their findings. Don’t let them return to the office with just a handful of bar tabs and dinner receipts.


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About the Author
Clifton SimmonsChicago Copywriter. Non-traditional creative in a traditional world. Blogging to future creative minds on professoradman.com.
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