stage (1)As I noted in my previous post, there are several ways that you can begin to relate to your audience before your speech.  More than those ideas, however, you can begin to relate to your audience before the event begins.  Here are several ways to build interest, create buzz, and begin to connect before anyone gets to the venue.

Send out a video teaser.   The cost and difficulty of creating brief videos is small and easy these days, so there’s no technical reason not to make one.  You can use the format to ask a question, suggest a way you connect with the audience, or simply talk up your topic.  Most conferences these days have a web site, so it’s straightforward to put your video on the main page.

Give the attendees a freebie.   You can put a link up on that conference site to a book chapter or some other content that you’re willing to give away in order to build interest and start the audience thinking about your topic.  The word “free” has some magic in it, even online, so don’t underestimate the importance of building goodwill with this gesture.

Start a contest.  Get the competitive juices of your audience flowing with a contest about some aspect of your talk.  Relate the contest to the occasion, the audience, and your passion – but the exact nature of the competition isn’t as important as the opportunity to build some buzz in a fun way.  Most of your audience will love a chance to show off a little expertise – even trivial expertise.    

The run up to a conference, and to your speech, is an opportunity to start a connection that will enhance the audience’s experience.  Work with your conference organizers to figure out what makes the most sense for your topic and occasion.

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