This advice holds true for both the speaker and the conference organizer advising the speakers on their presentations. A killer presentation is like a killer product. It takes some time to develop and involves many prototypes and iterations. If the presenter is giving their speech or facilitating their program for the first time, it will probably not be as good as the speeches or programs they have done numerous times. You learn how to do it better and get ideas and valuable feedback from doing it. So if you want a great program, make sure it isn’t one that is being done for the first time. Ask for and give the most polished and practiced stuff. If it is imperative that you do a new presentation, find a small event in your area to first practice or prototype it. You get great feedback and ideas from that first run-through.

The general advice I give people for creating a first presentation is SAM V. (Stories, Analogies, Metaphors, and Visuals) Tell your personal Stories. Use Analogies and Metaphors to help people get what you are talking about. Show them Visuals.

Even if what you are doing is a speech or presentation don’t make it a one way lecture. Mix it up and build in a lot of activities for participants to interact with each other, within small groups, and internally with their thoughts. Lectures don’t work for learning & engagement as much as something personal and interactive for the participant.

It has taken me many years of speaking, program development, and facilitation to learn these things and practice them in ways that become intuitive. I’ve been intentional about this approach for the past few years and I’m doing the most speaking/facilitation events (10) around the country this month that I’ve ever done so I feel that this approach is paying off. The programs go better and that equates to getting invited back and expanding to other conferences/events/organizations. Highly interactive SAM V presentations is my tip.