Part of the Public Speaking Toolkit Series
As a regular conference speaker and attendee, I have been fortunate enough to see some of the world’s best SEOs present online and at in person events. During the events, people focus on how good speakers can craft the perfect presentation. However great speakers are able to add long lasting value to every event.
Here are some of my favorite ways to add value to a talk or presentation before, during and long after you have left the stage.
Don’t be afraid to show something of yourself
In my recent talk for MozCon on Visual Search Optimizations, I almost exclusively shared images from my own camera roll. After the session attendees to the event explained to me that they found this to be really engaging. Someone said “Wow, we really went on a journey with you through all your photos!” Others sought me out to share mutual experiences of some of the people and interactions that I had mentioned in my deck. But in each case, the personal anecdotes that I shared helped the audience connect with my topic in a real and tangible way.
And I wasn’t the only one at MozCon 22 to employ this method.
Dr. Pete Myers shared an anecdote around curiosity with an accompanying image taken by his daughter as part of a deep dive data study.
Lidia Infante framed her talk about content gap analysis around the imposter syndrome that comes with starting a new job.
Miracle Inameti-Archibong started her talk about web accessibility with a highly relatable story about family sofa allocation.
Joe Hall’s entire presentation on SEO priorities was based on case study examples from his work with clients.
These personal elements can add a degree of universality to your talks, help to break up some of the more dense research sections, and give more nuance to your perspective.
As an event or webinar attendee this is something that I always really really appreciate. As a presenter, I tend to add any resources into the deck itself by sharing a list of tools/links as part of the session, but there are some speakers who create extensive resources as a matter of course and it is genuinely fantastic.
Noah Learner often builds specific frameworks and data studio templates for his talks. At MozCon he shared a collection of resources on data visualization on his website and spoke about how sharing is caring within the SEO community.
Miracle Inameti-Archibong is known for creating CoLab tools that are adaptable and versatile.
Aledya Solis is one of the most giving people in the SEO community and regularly includes flow charts and downloadable resources as part of her sessions.
Add jokes and humor
This might seem counter intuitive, but adding jokes to your presentation can often help people to take your talk more seriously. It doesn’t have to be a laugh every second, but humor is a great way to get, gauge, and keep your audience's attention. Why? If folks are paying attention, they will laugh. Anyone who wasn’t paying attention will wonder what they missed. And either way, people will sharpen their focus to make sure they hear the next punchline.
At Brighton SEO April 2022, Chima Mmeje began her talk with a long and humorous anecdote. I was in the audience and I can tell you, we were on the edge of our seats during the talk to see how it set the scene for the rest of the session. The insights she shared we just as sharp as her wit and the anticipation of an additional
If you decide to add some humor to your session, remember to keep your jokes tasteful. Memes, gifs, industry inside jokes, and self referencing humor often go down well, but avoid making jokes at the expense of other individuals or groups of people.
Write an accompanying blog
This is fairly standard practice but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this. If you are doing an event, even a small event, make a blog about it. Every person there will be part of an engaged audience that will be likely to share your content and link to your work.
Ideally you should write this before and share before or on the day of your event, but if you hit publish after a day or even a few weeks later you will still add value for users.
The article should go into your talk in more depth and should contain a collection of resources for your audience to use.
If you don't have a personal blog, consider starting a blog, pitching to relevant publisher, posting on LinkedIn, or adding it to your team blog.
Share your work via additional channels
I did not attend the event where she originally presented, but I was incredibly grateful that Cindy Krum shared a video of her talk on her YouTube channel. The video was clear and thorough and full of resources. And since it was a different medium she was able to add more content.
Using the original deck as your base, you can parlay your talk into a Twitter thread, video, podcast episode, webinar discussion and more. Those who attend your talk are likely to share this content again and to champion it for you.
These methods help you to demonstrate expertise and to connect with audiences long after the conference has finished.