10 tips for breaking onto the speaker circuit

06. Give 'something extra'

Hvass & Hannibal addressing the crowd at OFFF 2014 in Barcelona

I have a theory, which sounds like a joke – but actually I think it's true. I believe there are a lot of people in the audience who are waiting with baited breath as the speaker waves their arms around, hoping that some of the speaker's talent is going to waft over them!

I know it sounds silly, but who of us has never wanted to be as good a footballer as Pele, or as good a singer as Elton John? Maybe it's a juvenile idea, but I think the child in us would always hope that something good rubs off.

I also think that the 'something extra' is a speaker who talks about their failures as well as their successes. How did they overcome hurdles? Who do they admire? Where do they draw inspiration from? All of these are of interest.

06. Delivery is key

I've seen hundreds of talks, many fantastic and some quite poor. What makes the difference? Delivery. I've seen the most incredible work by artists and designers but their delivery was terrible, and equally, I've seen brilliant stage craft, but dull work. So, obviously, the work is important, but equally important is the way you deliver on stage.

07. Engage with your audience

Jon Burgerman is an experienced speaker. Here he talks to 3,000 people at OFFSET in Dublin

Does the speaker engage? Do they feel relaxed? Do they know what they're talking about and appear passionate about it? These are all things that are whizzing around my head whilst watching presentations.

08. Don't panic if it goes wrong

Thankfully, I've not seen many real problems. Things like microphones failing, or 'clicks' that the speaker seems to be the only person unaware of, I've seen a few times.

How to overcome that? The event should have someone dedicated to AV; someone who's prepared to run on stage and swap mics. How does a speaker deal with it? The best speakers are the ones that deal with it naturally, relaxed and without panic.

09. Never cut it short

The worst thing I've seen is someone 'short' their presentation by a lot. I've seen a 60-minute presentation shortened to 20 minutes. That's a nightmare.

Words: John Davey

10. Read Computer Arts issue 240

The lead feature in Computer Arts 240 reveals the lessons all designers can learn from the industry's best public speakes

For many creatives the fear of public speaking can be crippling. After all, we got into this industry to listen, problem-solve and create; not talk about ourselves.

But there are plenty of situations where being able to confidently speak about your work to strangers is extremely beneficial. So if you're about to step up to your first public speaking challenge or need some expert advice on polishing your presentation – or are even about to pitch to your dream client – have a read of Computer Arts 240, on sale 31 April.

The magazine's lead feature, 'Increase your industry voice', uncovers the lessons all designers can learn from the industry's best speakers.

Leading creatives – including Jon Burgerman, Christophe Niemann, Jessica Walsh, Spin's Tony Brook and more – share their top tips on what does (and doesn't) make an outstanding presentation, how to shine on stage, overcoming nerves, typical scenarios to avoid and what to do when tech fights back…

Get The Self-Promo Handbook for free

Computer Arts 240 is on sale from 31st April - guarantee your copy by subscribing before Wednesday 15th April

Computer Arts is also giving away its best-selling 100-page ebook, The Self-Promo Handbook, for free with issue 240.

By subscribing before Wednesday 13th April, you can guarantee a copy of issue 240 and your free ebook (and save up to 59% on a two-year sub while you're at it).

Also inside Computer Arts issue 240

  • Promote yourself: get yourself noticed with our expert guide to the self-promo techniques that really work
  • Self-promo for any budget: Make your money go further with our guide to the most cost-effective promo options
  • Adrian Shaughnessy reveals five proven rules for making an indelible mark on the design industry
  • With the UK's General Election machine revving up and ready to go into overdrive, Steven Heller asks what part does graphic design play in each party's election pledge?
  • Behind the scenes on Moving Bands' stunning identity for one of India's most impressive real estate start-ups, Housing
  • How JUSTSO and Projection Artworks created a world first in projection mapping in their ambitious window display for Fabergé at Harrods, featuring an interactive, 1.5m animated virtual egg
  • All the best new graphic design, illustration and motion graphics work – and much more

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