Welcome back to the second part of my two-part series, where I take you through my journey from audience member to first time speaker at a summit. In this blog post, I'm excited to share my top insights and takeaways from my experience as a first time summit speaker at the Future of Blogging Summit held from 27 Feb to 3 Mar 2023.
If you're considering speaking at a summit for the first time, or simply want to know what it's like behind the scenes, then keep reading for valuable advice and lessons learned.
DISCLOSURE: Some of the links that I share in this article ARE my affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission, at no extra cost to you. In fact, sometimes you'll get a discount or free credits just FOR using my link. 🙂
The Preparation Process
As the format of the Summit was pre-recorded, it was less unnerving than speaking live for me as a first time summit speaker. However, that doesn't mean it was any less work. I had to prepare content for my presentation and make sure that it connected with the audience in a meaningful way.
Choosing the format for my session
When I was invited to speak, I was given two formats for the session to be carried out. The first is to have the whole session as an interview between the host Lisa and myself and the second is a short interview by Lisa followed by a presentation by me on the topic.
I chose the second format as I felt that it was probably more appropriate for my topic “Perspectives on AI and how to leverage it for blogging” which may not be familiar for some audiences. Another reason was having visuals in the form of presentation slides would complement my presentation and be more helpful to my audience.
In my own experience as a member of the audience at some other online summits before, I found that it's easier for me to learn from the speakers if some visuals go along with the verbal presentation.
The interesting thing is that organizer Lisa shared with me that I am one of the few speakers (if not the only one) that had chosen the second format, i.e. having an interview followed by the presentation.
Preparing for the content of the presentation
So I happily prepared what I wanted to share. I wanted to make sure my content was well-structured was key as I wanted to leave a memorable impression on the audience. To do this, I identified key points and used illustrations to effectively explain each point.
I also made sure that my presentation had a bit of humor in it, as I believe that this makes the presentation more interesting and enjoyable for the audience. Still, I had to deal with a few challenges during the prep.
The first challenge was about the background of the audience. Even though I did know that the audience would be consisting of people who are interested in blogging.
They could vary in their knowledge and experience in AI. So I was a bit worried that people might find what I was going to share uninteresting as they already know.
I had to find a way to provide enough foundational information on AI in the short time frame that I had. At the same time, it should still be interesting and relevant to those who already know something about AI.
To do this, I tried to start my sharing about the different perspectives on AI to break the ice, and then I used some visuals such as photos and diagrams to make the content more easily digestible.
Another challenge was how to cover sufficiently useful information within the about 20 minutes that I was given out of the so many things I could share on the topic. In the end, I came up with the main points I wanted to cover that I thought would be helpful and informative for my audience.
I used that as a criterion for selecting what to include in my presentation throughout my planning.
After completing the content preparation, I used ChatGPT to help me script my presentation to make it more smooth-flowing. LOL, talking about practicing what I “preach”.
Actually, I did not think of this myself, it was my husband who reminded me to do this, and I think ChatGPT did a pretty good job for me.
Communication with the host is essential
I then shared my presentation slides with the host Lisa. This is an important part of the prep process, so Lisa can set expectations with the audience. Apart from preparing the content, there was also the need to provide Lisa with all the necessary information such as background, bio, and so on.
Once I was happy with the content, I still had to make sure that it was relevant and interesting for the audience. To make this easier, Lisa asked me questions during our pre-interview so that I can further refine my presentation before the actual summit.
I had my recording on 23 Feb. With the preparation I did beforehand, everything went pretty smoothly. Even though there were a few points that I was a bit taken aback by some of the questions from Lisa which I have never thought of before. Nevertheless, I managed to answer them.
Setting up the opt-in form
Another thing I had to get ready before the Summit was the setting up of the opt-in form for people to sign up for my freebie. My freebie was an e-guide on 11 Tips on How to Write Better Prompts for ChatGPT to Get Better Responses.
I had chosen to share this freebie as I knew that many people are probably already familiar with ChatGPT and are keen to learn more about how to use it. You can also get a free copy of this e-guide by clicking on the picture on the right.
I also compiled a special e-guide for people to buy if they would like to have ready-to-use ChatGPT prompts that would generate great output for bloggers to use to help in their blogging process.
I used Designrr to help me produce the e-guides as it helped to create the eBooks for me quickly from my original Word documents.
Convertri is awesome as it's touted as the best affordable alternative to ClickFunnels. It is fast and reliable, so I have been using it to set up my landing pages with reliable results. The integration with Mailerlite also worked well.
To make sure everything was ready before the Summit, I did a couple of tests on my opt-in form to ensure that it worked properly, and sure it did. These were some of the steps I took in preparation for my Summit presentation.
My session was played on 1 Mar 2023, which was the third day of the Summit, and I was speaker number 20. Due to the time zone difference (Singapore time is like 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time), I woke up on the 2nd Mar, and I was happy to notice that there were some sign-ups for my freebie.
Below is the replay of my session for the Summit, you can watch it to learn more:
Feedback from people who attended the Summit on FB
On the Summit's Facebook page, the organizer would share a post for people to share what they think of or learn from a speaker's talk after each day. I saw some comments from attendees that they found my presentation to be informative and helpful. It was really nice to read their comments, and it made me feel like all the hard work was worth it after all.
I was also quite happy with the turnout as a few people shared their stories with me after the summit. In particular, one person commented that she found my presentation inspiring, and it gave her a new perspective on how AI can be applied in real life.
Below are the screenshots of some of the comments left on the Facebook post. I have blurred out the names and profile pictures of the commenters for confidentiality.
I am particularly happy to note that one of the buyers of my e-book found it to be great value, as seen below:
The feedback was very encouraging and made me more motivated to share more of my knowledge with the world and help other people out there. Apart from the number of email sign-ups from attendees that is still increasing as I am writing this post, I have also gained a few new followers on my YouTube channels and a few sales for the ready-to-use ChatGPT prompts e-guide.
This is my first time selling a digital product (I have always been selling physical products for my online business) so it's really exciting for me to see that this works!
On the presentation
As a first time summit speaker, I gained many valuable insights and takeaways from my experience. First, I learned the importance of proper preparation and the value of coordinating with the interviewer before the session to refine your presentation. It was also useful to have some practice runs before the session.
Preparing thoroughly for a summit presentation is essential. Having a well-thought-out plan, including researching the topic in advance and devising an effective structure for your talk, can help boost your confidence and give you the best chance of success.
Another key factor to consider is the time available for your talk. It's important to keep within the allocated time frame, rather than running over or not having enough content. This can be especially difficult if you're new to public speaking, so it's essential to practice in advance.
Second, I realized the importance of having a great opt-in form to capture people's emails. This is an essential part of growing your list and providing more value to your audience. Finally, I learned that it's important to get feedback from attendees and use it as motivation for further improvement in future sessions.
Third, delivering an effective message is the key to success when speaking at a summit. It's important to be clear and concise with your language, ensuring that you don't overload your audience with too much information. Additionally, it's wise to include sources and examples as evidence of your points – this can help build credibility with your audience.
On putting myself out there and getting out of my comfort zone
By getting out of my comfort zone and putting myself out there, it was a great experience for me. I had to break through my fear that people may not understand my accent or people may not like what I share and be open to learning new things.
I did find the following advice from TED Speaker Gina Barnett helpful. She advises presenters to start with a few warm-up sentences to help the room adjust to your accent. Everyone has an accent, she says, and while you might not be able to hear your own, someone from New York, Texas, or England can probably hear it clearly.
The important lesson I learned is don't limit or censor yourself. Speak your mind and don't worry about being perfect. I was quite surprised by how much people resonated with my message, and it made me feel more confident in speaking in public.
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I'm so glad that I took up this opportunity to speak at the Summit. I learned a lot about preparing for such events and how to make your presentation more engaging. It has been an amazing experience, and I’m proud of the effort that I put in.
Conclusion as first time summit speaker
Overall, I'm grateful for this opportunity to speak at the Summit and I have so much to be thankful for! It was a great learning journey for me, and I am sure that I will be doing more such speaking sessions in the future as I am open to more such collaboration for future engagements and opportunities.
Thanks for reading! I hope this post helps you in some way if you're thinking of speaking at your first Summit or event. Just remember to take things one step at a time and to be prepared for anything that might come your way.
If you're interested in learning more about how ChatGPT works or want to get access to my ready-to-use ChatGPT prompts, feel free to check out the following link: https://go.ecommercewithpenny.com/directlanding
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