Top 10 Tips for speaking at a conference

Last month I spoke at the Tech4Health Summit in London. I found myself in the minority of the list of speakers – female and a clinician. I wasn’t going to let that scare me. Instead, I saw this as a brilliant challenge and wanted to make an impact. I utilised the words of wisdom from my colleagues to help shape my message (see previous blog Calling all clinicians: Be brave, stand up and talk about it) and some additional techniques to help prepare my presentation for the event.

Here are the key strategies I used to prepare:

  1. Know your audience – Research who you will be speaking to. Brainstorm what you think they may want to get out of the event. Take the time to anticipate the questions you think they may ask.
  2. Know the other speakers - Investigate what they are talking about to interweave common themes, but avoid duplication. You don’t want to be giving the audience repetition of information.
  3. Tell a tale – Every good presentation has a beginning, middle and end. Give examples from real life, talk about real people and show examples of real change.
  4. Make it visual – Words may help to paint a picture; a picture can say a thousand words, but a little video footage can tell a memorable story.
  5. Rehearse – Practice in front of a mirror, audio record your presentation or even film yourself. This is probably the most confronting thing you can do, but insightful and an effective way to make changes to bad habits.
  6. Rent a crowd – Invest time to carry out a few practice runs. Find a free room and invite my work mates to sit in while you practice. This is a great way to receive constructive feedback.
  7. Know you time limit – Keep to the time limit by making it sharp and to the point. Time yourself. Allow time for a few questions and enjoy the interaction with the audience.
  8. Take away message - Make sure you give the audience something to take away – tips, strategies and /or resources to be able to try something new for their practice.
  9. Be creative - Try different presentation programs like PowerPoint and Prezi.  Be brave and experiment new ways of presenting – start with a story or ask the audience questions.
  10. Speak from the heart – Don’t be afraid to speak with passion. You will instill this in your listeners. They will remember you and your message so much more.

 Be brave.

Stand up and talk about it.


Melissa Andison,

Clinical Lead SystmOne Project Team / Director of OTTechHealthcare Consultancy / Occupational Therapist LinkedIn Profile

This is part of our OT Series

This is also part of our Top 10 Series



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