This week, Jocelyn Bérard and I presented a keynote address at the Canadian Society for Training and Development (CSTD) Conference entitled Future-Proofing Your Organization Through Change Agility.
We knew that a keynote is a different game to leading a workshop. The audience is bigger (700+), people are physically distanced from you, scripting is required for pace and flow and engagement is more difficult (especially at the end of a day at a conference).
Another challenge is that we had never worked together. Learning about our styles and choreographing our movements was a must. It would take continual revision and rigorous practice to get it right.
As with most important events in life, this one flew by. I will always remember exchanging confident nods with Jocelyn as we launched into our presentation. Delivering our work was as exciting as I hoped it would be.
The best part of the day was when people approached us afterwards to say they appreciated what we had to say. What a feeling!
There are so many benefits to speaking at a conference and only a minority of people choose to do so. Here are the ones that have meaning for me:
- Crystallizes your thoughts on a topic
- Establishes your reputation as an authority in your field
- Builds capability (public speaking, communication, etc.)
- Broadens experience base
- Helps people become better
- Meet new people (Jocelyn and I met at a conference)
- Promotes what you have to offer
- Scares you and makes you overcome the fear
- Ups your game
- Provides a sense of accomplishment
All of these benefits have one thing in common: growth. The best part of my CSTD keynote was working with Jocelyn. I learned so much from him and our partnering. We combined our knowledge, experience and styles to create something better than what we could have created on our own.
Immediately after our session, we shook hands and both said, “Let’s do another”. That’s what most people say after leading their first conference session. You might too.