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Summit speaker tips

1. The most valuable thing you can share is your subject matter expertise. Provide substantive information that will give attendees deeper knowledge about an important issue. Give them something they can take back to their teams and act on. Presentations are just 30 minutes, so make every minute count with substantive content.

2. If you’re presenting an implementation story, spend most of your time discussing the “why,” “how,” and “so-what.” Details about schoo demographics, implementation process and product features should be of secondary importance.

3. Use video with caution, especially videos that feel commercial. If you decide you must show a video, keep it short. (After about a minute and a half, eyes drift to phones and tablets.) And consider showing it at the end of your presentation, to summarize, rather than at the start, to introduce. 

4. Be respectful with your slides. Keep them simple and clear, with single dominant images. If you have to show a slide with a lot of information, highlight the relevant data points. 

5. Get the audience engaged. Our Summit attendees value opportunities to participate in and contribute to the sessions. Some speakers do this by taking 3-5 minutes to pose a question for discussion at the tables and ask for 2-3 responses. This could be done midway through the presentation or at the end.

6. The 20-minute mark is the “dead-zone.” This is the point when hands and eyes stray to phones and screens. It’s a good time to change your verbal cadence and work in some humor, an anecdote or a short personal story. 

7. Connect the dots to the solution you’re representing. Our attendees don’t want a sales presentation, but they do understand that you represent a sponsoring company. It’s important to establish the connection between the subject matter expertise that you’re providing with the solution you’re representing. Best advice is to offer attendees just enough product information to stimulate their interest in getting more detailed information at other opportunities during the Summit.

8. Please do not invite attendees to learn more in your roundtable sessions. Roundtable assignments are set before the event, and it’s important to all the sponsors that the attendees participate in the roundtable sessions on their personal agendas.

9. Do not directly or by inference compare or contrast your product with any other products by name. Best practice is simply not to reference any other product in a way that could be construed as competitive.