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Staying On Track With Conference Presentations

I view conferences as an important part of professional development and networking. I come home from conferences excited to try the new things I learned about in the industry and do my best to keep up with individuals who I met during social events.

This spring, I have the opportunity to speak at Learning Solutions in Orlando and at ATD ICE in San Diego. When I applied for each conference,I had visions of having both presentations written and supporting materials completed by now. I am proud to say I have at lease started both presentations, but they are not as far along as I hoped. I am a deadline-driven individual and knowing that I have time to complete both presentations has me procrastinating. As my conference hosts email me with reminders for session materials and slide decks, I realize I need to commit to other deadlines to keep myself on track. Here are a few tricks I’m implementing and you can use to stay on track to meet conference deadlines this year.

Schedule Practice Presentations

The first few times I share my conference presentation, I do it in small pieces. I take a five to ten-minute section of my presentation to put it in front of a group and elicit feedback. You can accomplish this in many ways. Here are a few ways to get some practice in before the day of your conference presentation.

  1. Request five minutes in a meeting to present. Distribute feedback forms to meeting participants prior to the meeting.
  2. Practice at a Toastmasters (or similar club) meeting.
  3. Take some time to show it to your boss during your one on one meeting.

Blog About Your Conference Presentations

blog about your conference presentationsThe longer I spend in this industry, the more I realize many learning and development professionals have a blog. If you contribute to a blog, write a bit about your presentation topic. If you don’t regularly contribute to a blog, reach out to your favorite L&D blogger and ask him or her if you can guest contribute. You may be surprised how happy we are to have contributors from other perspectives. Additionally, many conference organizers promote conferences through their own blog. There may be opportunities to contribute to one of those blogs as well.

Schedule Material Reviews

I am a horrible speller and a self-admitted typo master. If everything I write isn’t reviewed by at least one human, I am going to end up apologizing to a whole department for the incontinence. I regularly ask colleagues or friends to review my work for content and grammatical mistakes. Before a conference presentation, I request material reviews far in advance with a schedule attached to it. This gives me something to work towards and my reviewer a heads up that something is coming their way.

Q&A Session with Your Team

practice q and a session for your conference presentationsThere is nothing worse than having your presentation derailed by a question you didn’t anticipate. Schedule time on your team’s calendars to ask questions about your presentation. They will have another perspective on your topic and will ask questions you may not have considered.

Are you giving conference presentions this year? How are you preparing? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

As I mentioned in this post, I am getting ready to go to Learning Solutions in Orlando, FL on March 27, 2018. Will you be there? If so, let’s grab coffee and geek-out about training! Please reach out in the comments or on twitter @montanageekgirl

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