When you take part in a conference panel, do you use your introduction as a chance to stand out?
First impressions count. Conference panel audiences form their opinion of you based on the first things you say. That’s why your introduction matters, often as much – or more than – your later contributions.
Learning how to introduce yourself well is a worthwhile investment. These appearances are great marketing opportunities, and you’ll get more from them if you impress from the start.
We’ve reviewed hundreds of conference panel appearances and identified six things that underpin a powerful self-introduction.
Be succinct. By saying less you show that you get to the heart of the matter without wasting time. Plus, the fewer words you use, the more weight your words carry. It’s far more effective to deliver a great 15-second introduction (approx. 30 words) than a rambling two-minute one (500 words).
For example, “I’m Ben, the founder of Benjamin Ball Associates. Business leaders use us to transform their pitching, presentation and public speaking skills so that they stand out.”
One strong idea is worth more than 20 vague concepts. Say just one thing, and say it well. Make it relevant to the main topic that the panel will be debating. You’ll make a much more impact than someone who bores the audience by sharing too much.
For example, “At ABC Ltd, we measure the financial value of public open spaces. This helps all of us protect parks and countryside against future development.”
Help the audience remember your organisation, by referring back to your company name. Rather than saying, “We do this; we believe that…” say, “At XYZ Ltd we do this; at XYZ Ltd we always…”. Your audience will appreciate the reminder.
The chairperson may speak first, but don’t direct your response towards him or her. Speak to the audience. Smile to convey warmth and confidence. Then, make eye contact with different people across the audience as you deliver your introduction.
Your natural passion for your topic will be dulled by the gap between you and the audience. To compensate for this, dial up your energy and enthusiasm. It might mean ‘performing’ a bit more than feels natural, but that is what looks good on stage. If you feel nervous, it’s common to lower your voice. Instead, channel your nervous energy into projecting your voice.
A great introduction is not easy. It comes from time spent perfecting and editing what you’re planning to say. Keep practicing until it feels natural and easy. The more practiced you are, the more natural, confident and engaging it will look. That’s one of the reasons why we film our clients during our coaching and training. Straight away, they become more objective about their performance and can see the impact they make.
Introductions are just the beginning. We’ll help you refine your key messages, strengthen your delivery and stress-test your performance. After just a half day session with us, you’ll feel calm, confident and ready to stand out.
Our award-winning training, coaching and advice has helped hundreds of Senior Executives transform their leadership communications, including pitches, presentations and conference panel appearances.
Start preparing for your conference panel appearance now. Call Louise Angus on 020 7018 0922 or email her via firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to request your personalised proposal.
You may also be interested in this related article: Practical Tips for your Conference Panel Appearance
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