Let me set the stage for you. You’ve created a signature talk. You’ve been comfortably delivering your talk, in a variety of different scenarios, such as workshops, breakouts, and lunch & learns. You’ve figured out how to organize your content so it fits within common speaker time frames too.
A conference organizer hears your talk and asks you if you’d be interested in speaking at their upcoming conference. You’re so excited you say “Yes!” without a second thought. Who wouldn’t? BUT you find out that instead of speaking for usual 10, 15, 30, or 50 minutes, you’ll be filling in a whole morning time-block instead.
Now, if you’re Mark Twain, you’ll be delighted—because who isn’t excited to take advantage of an opportunity to dive deeper into their topic! The challenge is deciding how to fill that time. Here are a few thoughts about how to comfortably and confidently expand your signature talk(s).
1: Should you add more main points? Or add more to the main points you’re already sharing? Usually, a signature talk has 3-4 main points, with you going as deep into each of the points as time will allow. Now that you have more time, you might be tempted to add an additional 2-3 main points to your talk.
Time and time again, it’s been proven that people already have a hard time remembering what they hear. So, it’s unlikely that throwing in a couple more main points is going to make you more memorable. Instead, find ways to provide more depth and/or more insight into your main points.
2: Consider your delivery. It’s not uncommon to feel like sometimes you’re rushing through your talk. After all, you’re trying to jam as much information as you can into it. You want your audience to walk away feeling like they got what they came for… and then some. But now that you have more time, you can slow down your delivery. You actually have time to repeat key points or phrases for emphasis too. Pay attention to how fast you’re talking. This could actually lead to a whole new level of comfort in delivery.
3: Be more interactive with your audience. One of the biggest opportunities that comes with having more time, is the opportunity to engage and interact more with your audience. Are there interesting statistics, facts, stories, and/or anecdotes you can share? Would handouts, slides, worksheets, etc., enhance your presentation? Can you add breakouts and more person-to-person interactions?
As speakers, we have the great advantage of knowing what we have to be prepared for ahead of time. That’s why we put the time and effort into making sure our signature talks are flexible enough for us to be able to say “yes” when we’re presented with a new opportunity. This is another way we earn top-of-mind status and great testimonials with event planners and organizers. This is the kind of preparation that earns you testimonials that begin with words like:
(Your name here) was an absolute pleasure to work with….
‘Til we speak again….