Great Advice For Those New To Speaking Gigs

Speaking at SMX West 2009
Speaking at SMX West 2009

My good friend and business blogger Janet, aka Newspapergrl – who runs the blog over at Orange Soda, as well as her own gave me a challenge several years ago to speak at industry conferences.  I have always been very comfortable just sitting back in my home office and taking care of my clients and doing my own thing (being a hermit), but I could not get this challenge out of my mind.

I have spoken before at Universities (BYU-Hawaii for example) and other niche specific marketing conferences like the E-Tourism Summit, but never a main stream Search industry type conference.  That changed a few weeks back when I spoke at SMX West 2009 in Santa Clara, Ca.  I enjoyed it more then you even know, and it will take another blog post to even describe the benefits of being able to do something like that, but I appreciate Janet for challenging me.  She got me out of my comfort zone, but in the process I also learned some great lessons and met some great people, and that was all even before the speaking gig, and THAT is the purpose of this post.

Janet introduced me to a guy named Jason Alba, who is the CEO of and who is also a paid speaker.  He gave me some speaking tips that I thought were very valuable and helpful, so I asked him if I could share them here on this blog and he agreed.  You can find Jason Alba on Twitter by clicking the link.

Here is the advice on speaking Jason shared with me:

You are the expert. That is why you are speaking. Your entire posture and presentation should be from an expert position.

Following along those lines, DON’T APOLOGIZE. Not for a raspy voice, incomplete PPT, … nothing. The expert doesn’t need to apologize. They are lucky you are there sharing your stuff.

You have STUFF to share. It may seem boring or common sense to you, but it’s either new to them, or you present it as the most impt stuff you can share with them (reaffirming their knowledge and perhaps shaping opinions).

You’ve seen sucky presentations that lean on ppts. Don’t do that.

Keep your points in order… story board what you talk about. In my LinkedIn presentations I realized I should talk about “the four main things you should do on LI. “ My presentations are very actionable… and I leave you with four things to do. Instead of the 20 that you could do. I’m the expert, and I picked the four most impt.

Have a solid ending. Professional speakers want to create a distribution channel, which in turn helps them become thought leaders, which also helps create revenue. So perhaps “you can get my handouts/notes from this session at my website” and then have people sign up to get them. You grow your list. I think this is one way that Armano got so big.

Buy a $40 remote mouse to click through the presentations.

If you want to pursue more speaking, buy an olympis digital recorder or have someone video you.

I appreciate Jason sharing this information with me, and allowing me to post it here.  I also want to take this moment to let my friend Janet know that I need a new challenge!

5 thoughts on “Great Advice For Those New To Speaking Gigs

  1. Nate Moller says:

    Great post and tips on speaking gigs! Wished I could have been there to cheer you on.

    My challenge, even though I’m not Janet:

    Get a picture with @the_real_shaq promoting twitter! 🙂 We’ve both seen the proof that he’s real!

    Thanks again for the tips.

  2. Mat Siltala says:

    Great to meet you and thanks for your comment! I am actually in Arizona, and have been for two years now – but my partners are in Utah. I just couldn’t handle the snow – I prefer Sun!

  3. Jason Alba says:

    Hey Matt, I’m glad to hear that your presentation went so well! One thing I like is the confidence in this post, which I think will help you in your next presentation!

    – jason