Tips for Conference Speakers by Jessica Byrnes

Jessica Byrnes
Jessica Byrnes

Hi, I’m Jessica Byrnes, and I’m a member of the AEA marketing team.

With Evaluation 2019 only a few months away, I felt inspired to share some tips for those of you planning to present or speak at an upcoming meeting. Hopefully, these tips will help you take the leap from event attendee to speaker extraordinaire—while creating value for everyone involved.

Be in tune with your purpose and passions.

When you submit your proposal to speak, pick a topic that you know well and that will set yourself apart from the crowd. Let your unique personality and experiences shine here: The passion and enthusiasm you bring to the stage (or podium!) will be infectious to the audience when it comes time to present.

Know your audience: Feel free to ask your session moderator or conference organizer what the most common comments, suggestions, or pieces of feedback were from previous years in order to gauge what you want to accomplish with your session.

Connect with your audience before your presentation.

An easy way to get people excited to attend your session is through digital promotion. For Evaluation 2019, the AEA marketing team put together a Presenter Marketing Toolkit filled with sample website content, invitation emails, and social media posts that speakers could use to promote their sessions more effectively leading up to the conference.

Keep the conversation going.

Your work isn’t over as soon as the session is done: Be present, mingle, and even welcome opposing viewpoints in the hallways. You never know the types of professional connections—or even friends—you could make!

Afterwards, follow up on social media and keep the conversation from your presentation going. If your event has a hashtag associated with it (like #Eval19), it’s simple to see what attendees are saying and to join in!

Do you have any tips to share with our future speakers for a successful presentation? Let me know in the comments below!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the
 aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

2 thoughts on “Tips for Conference Speakers by Jessica Byrnes”

  1. I also have some prepared tips for conference speakers – experienced and inexperienced – on my website. Click on “25 Tips for Better Presentations”.


  2. Great tips, thanks so much. I’m speaking at the Australian Evaluation Conference in Sydney, Australia so I was keen to read your advice.
    I’m very passionate about my topic but was feeling a little nervous about sharing my views but I think I’ll just go for it!

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