5 tips your boss needs to know before speaking at a conference


Conferences can be scary, even for the most fearless and capable managers (and more so for the incapable ones), conferences are intimidating.

So, your boss is heading off to a conference and has to stand in front of a large audience and has made each and every one of you in the office aware at least a dozen times (it’s the nerves, don’t blame them). Here are 5 things you should make sure your boss is aware of before they deliver that monumental speech of a lifetime, it might just help you out too one day!

  1. Prepare – Tell your boss to dedicate time to the presentation (this could also be a chance for you to showcase your skills helping her/him with their workload). For many in the audience, this presentation will be their first impression of the speaker and thus their company too. Ensure a good impression by giving your boss time to prepare. Remember – “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.
  2. Start drinking water 15 minutes before the presentation – You’ve heard of TED talks before, right? If you haven’t, check out their influential videos from expert speakers from a variety of fields. Gina Barnett, longtime TED speaker coach recommends drinking water 15 minutes before any presentation. Imagine doing everything you can and preparing tirelessly only to get on stage and have dry mouth. Your voice can make a ‘sticky, clicky’ sound when it’s dry and it is as uncomfortable for the audience as it is for your boss.
  3. Give people the chance to adjust to your accent – At a conference, your boss could be talking to people from all different parts of the nation or even the globe. Accents vary greatly in the relatively small geographical area of the UK, imagine how it could be difficult for someone from a different nationality to listen and become engaged in your speech. Make sure your manager speaks their first few sentences slow and steady – don’t let them loose their audience from the get-go.
  4. Engage your audience with illustrations – “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Keep the presentation light on text, it can distract the audience from listening to what your boss is saying and can potentially overload their poor brains with information! A picture, a graph, a chart, an emoji, an illustration of sorts can get the point across fantastically whilst keeping the audience engaged!
  5. Leave time for a Q&A – This time can actually be a lot more fun than anyone would expect. By this point, the nerves have settled and your boss will have the opportunity to talk on a subject they’re passionate about without it feeling scripted or rehearsed. At this point, they need to be passionate and the energy they will be providing will radiate to the audience. The audience are here listening to your boss after all. Let your boss know that if they don’t know a question straight away they can always say “I’m happy to discuss this in greater detail with you after the Q&A has finished or via email.

Bonus Tip – Always, ensure your boss takes a spare paper copy of the powerpoint presentation you never know when technology can fail you!

Ensure people remember your boss’ presentation and their face by making sure they have a professional headshot for the conference brochure, their presentation and their business cards