Taking the stage at industry events offers executives the opportunity to feature your brand, plug your product and stand out. Wrong. Well-meaning advisors encourage executives to tout company-specific agendas when all attendees want insight. Resist the temptation to draw short-lived attention to your company or executive. Instead, invest in building your entire industry.
Your success of course depends on clear, thoughtful content with plenty of industry insight, future trends and analysis. Unfortunately, there’s no trick or short cut when it comes to producing that. It takes discipline, foresight and hard work. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to get you in the mindset. Start by taking advantage of the good work done by the event-organizers.
- Write to the theme. This guarantees your talk addresses topics the audience is interested in hearing and provides tie-ins to other presenters.
- Use the template. Don’t take slides from an internal meeting or your last big sales event. By translating your material into the industry-event look and feel, you signal that neither gimmicks nor self-centeredness are your MO.
- Send materials in advance. The best way to avoid embarrassing errors and last-minute hiccups is to ensure your slides are complete and among the event assets early.
- Show up to rehearsal. Comfort on stage, confidence in slide-ware and familiarity with the venue go miles toward a polished presentation. Every executive packs busy schedules; it’s a given. Don’t try to squeeze in too much if she has a keynote to deliver.
- Buy a sponsorship. If you must plug your brand, use event avenues to do so. Instead of rolling their eyes in the back of the room when you tout your products, event managers will rush to assist you in displaying your brand.
We are all dedicated to the goals our organization wants to achieve, but industry events are not the venue for a hard sell. Adopt these simple guidelines and give your executive’s content the focused attention necessary to achieve something more than a short-lived sales pitch—establish her position as an industry thought-leader.