Presenting to fellow professionals is a valuable way to establish your personal brand and practice essential people skills.
But being a successful professional doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to share your knowledge effectively, especially when you’re speaking to industry peers.
Last week, I lead a workshop in Hong Kong, Owning the Room: Pitching to Professionals, hosted by Wynd Co-Working Space. It was a great room full of smart, experienced professionals, and we all benefited from the experience.
I had the privilege of lecturing at a university for a few years under excellent mentor professors, which taught me a lot about how to lead an affective group discussion.
For those of you without classroom experience, here are a few tips to remember to make your next workshop a success.
- Get out of the way. Participants should come before your ego and even your agenda. Identify and meet their needs, and they’ll tell everyone how helpful it was.
- Focus on what you know. Offer the experience you have and admit when something is outside your expertise or the specified topic. Workshops should be a deep dive on an area you know best.
- Invite more questions. Whether you’re working with novices or professionals, your audience has questions. Make it a formal part of the session to write down key questions, and remember to leave time for discussion.
- Know your timing. Most people say to check your tech before the talk, but even more important is to know your time. The last thing you want is to leave a group feeling short-changed because you ran out of time.
- Ask for feedback. You’re not as good as you think, probably. Asking for feedback builds credibility and can be a means of transitioning to a sales conversation when attendees are potential clients.
Follow these suggestions for the next workshop you lead and you’ll have your attendees’ respect and appreciation.