How NOT To Be a BORING Conference Speaker

Well, it’s been three weeks since I last blogged. I am sorry to all of you who expect a weekly blog on trucking issues, but I have been swamped with several cases and transition in personnel.
Usually, I try to provide some practical advice to my clients and colleagues. Many of you will be asked to make presentations at upcoming conferences. May I give you some advice on being a memorable presenter? I cannot take credit for the following, but I certainly want to share it.

The Legal Marketing Association’s Los Angeles chapter’s CME (Continuing Marketing Education) program provided excellent content from many memorable presentations.  During the program, I watched carefully as my industry friends and colleagues presented their expertise in wide-ranging areas important in law firm marketing.
Cheryl Bame, Principal of Bame Public Relations, provides some takeaways and pointers for delivering a memorable presentation and being a great speaker:
1.            Don’t just educate, entertain. 
People have short attention spans so it is important to not only provide valuable content but also to keep people engaged by interjecting creative anecdotes  and some humor without  offending anyone.
2.            Get personal with the audience. 
Tell stories that illustrate your points and offer a meaningful way to connect with the audience.

3.            Be passionate. 

That means show enthusiasm when you speak.   Your audience will know when you are bored or tired of speaking about your topic.  It will show in your face and body language. I can still recall one of the better presentations by my friend Phil Bond, who was/is passionate about trucking AND the insurance industry. If you’re in this industry, there must be something you like about it so SHOW it.  Judy Burkhalter of Old Dominion was/is also very passionate about the industry and she inspires!
4.            Eye contact.
As a former prosecutor, I KNOW that this is important. Jurors lose faith in a speaker when the rarely looks at his audience.   Don’t be afraid. People are there to learn and you are the expert.  
5.            The podium is not your friend. 
Many people rely on the podium for support, but it creates a barrier and prohibits really connecting with the audience. It also gets in the way of hand gestures which when used well make for a more engaging presentation. Years ago, I learned to make transitional steps away from the podium. It opens you up to your audience. You become more accessible.  Raymond McElfish has made excellent presentations without relying on his notes or being bound to a lectern.
6.            Be relevant. 
Don’t use dated examples to illustrate your points, especially if your audience is of a different generation and may not remember TV from the 1970s or video games from the 1980s. On the other hand, when classic movie or television clips, such as from the Andy Griffith Show, are relevant, don’t hesitate to use them. I I don’t think the wisdom of “Ange” or the humor of “Barney” is ever lost on your audience, but then again, I am a die-hard fan of black and white, “Andy Griffith Show” from the early 1960s.
As Ms. Blame notes, “Not everyone is a perfect speaker. But, everyone can learn techniques from the masters to create a more memorable and engaging presentation.” As you get ready for the conference season, I hope some of these ideas set you apart and make you the most memorable speaker of the season.

As always, if there is anything we can do for you in Louisiana or Texas, particularly NORTH Louisiana or Northeast Texas, feel free to contact us. You can learn more about us at our website located at

Remember, don’t be boring!


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