Public Speaking

A few months ago I was asked to present at the Online Retailer Roadshow in Brisbane, which is a single day conference organised by Reed Exhibitions covering a broad array of topics associated to online marketing.

Historically, I’ve found a lot of one day conferences to not have enough depth in them or they aren’t able to attract the really great speakers but I was completely impressed by the line up for the conference & was in the esteemed company from people like:

  • Kieran O’Hea
    Chief Digital Officer – Brisbane City
  • Faye Ilhan
    Head of Online – Dan Murphy’s
  • Joshua McNicol
    Head of Marketing – Temple & Webster
  • Steve Tosh
    Director Omni-Channel – Dick Smith

My presentation was on unbeatable SEO tips or search engine optimisation for the uninitiated, ie how to make my website have great visibility in Google. 

Since the conference was about online retailing, I decided that I’d cover off a raft of foundation items, technical problems that aren’t handled well in ecommerce websites, tips on building links to their websites, outpacing their competition with great content and maximising the effect that social media can have on a site – which while not a ranking factor for Google, correlates well with rankings due to the fact that great exposure/awareness for a website generally leads to things that do affect rankings taking place such as links.

After getting the majority of my presentation organised, I gave myself a practice run through in the boardroom at work and despite the fact that the boardroom was empty – I felt really nervous for some reason. After I got going, everything began to fall into place and I worked my way through the content without a great deal of effort.

During the run through, I thought I was going fast – spending a limited amount of time on each of the slides and topics but despite that I was way over my 30 minute time allotment – so I cut slides out of the presentation.

It turns out that I should have cut even more slides out of the presentation as even with the reduced content and me still feeling as though I was tearing through the topics – I went over the time limit at the event as well but the organisers gave me a few more minutes which was great.

It’s difficult to find the balance of going too advanced or diving deep into a topic and not providing enough detail for the audience. I know from conferences I’ve attended that nothing frustrates me more than a presentation that I don’t learn something from – so I tried to avoid that with my content by focusing on items that could genuinely improve their online business if they took action to address the problems.

For my first public speaking engagement with an audience of over 100 people, I feel it went really well. There were a lot of people taking notes and photos of my slides while I was presenting, so I think that is an indication that they were finding value in what I was speaking about.

Now that my first one is out of the road, I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for more opportunities – it is a lot of effort but it’s good fun and you get to meet other business owners and professionals which I really enjoy.

2 thoughts on “Public Speaking

  1. That’s a major step Alistair and a good one.

    I would be delighted to hear the actual comment on your subject and the presentation when you receive it.

    Father George.

  2. George,

    I haven’t received any official feedback, however I think that people taking down notes and photos of my slides is a good indication that it went quite well. I’d definitely get marked down for going over time, so that is something I will need to be very conscious of next time. Despite the fact that I had already made an effort to cut down the use of acronyms, my work colleague Stephen said I still used too many – so will need to pay particular attention to that and keep it in step with the audiences capabilities/knowledge.


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