I went to a luncheon to celebrate International Women’s Day. It was great to be allowed back to these events and everyone I spoke to, like me, had missed the experience. People who organise events tell me they are booking out quickly because people are just so happy to be able to experience them again.

At the event I went to, 3 very impressive women spoke: one with a badly put together presentation and read her speech, one who told a story and one who had a Q&A session with the MC. All three had various degrees of impact, some was to do with their personalities but mainly to do with how they presented. There is no doubt, the second speaker, telling a story in her own words, was the most impactful and enjoyable, but what can be learned here?

  1. Never use a script…it’s a charisma killer. When you are reading, your focus is not on the audience. Also, unless you are a trained news reader, its almost impossible to make it sound interesting. I mean, even politicians and the Queen can’t read a speech and keep it engaging. Don’t even try.
  2. If you need slides, make sure they have a purpose and they look great. Slides exist simply to deliver or evidence a key message but because we are all so hungry for information at events, good slides that deliver your message and are strongly branded are more important than ever. An unprofessional slide deck says unprofessional company. The world has changed around the acceptability of slide decks, catch up.
  3. Q & A is, in my humble opinion, the sign of someone who really doesn’t know how (or have the time) to put together a story and really is a series of facts that doesn’t have the same impact. While better than reading, it didn’t really honour the time and expense people incurred in coming to the event.

Now, probably more than ever, is a great opportunity to make a great impact at an event. Enthusiastic audiences, good attendances make a great space to present into. Take advantage of it by being properly prepared and honour the time and investment by your audience.

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