> >

SXSW: Presentation tips & how to stand out in the crowd

Are you getting ready for the annual visual circus that is SXSW? Well if this is your first or your tenth time attending, it’s always a good idea to be prepared. Today’s post is for those who will be presenting on stage or at an expo booth.

The most important thing I can tell you is, enjoy the moment! There is so much going on at SXSW, the hoards of people are often tired and overwhelmed. It helps if you are sending out positive energy and sharing fresh information and insights. A goal for your presentation should be to bring some order to the madness. People who attend your presentation should walk away with the idea that they have gained valuable information. Attendees are always talking to each other about the sessions they liked and did not like. Be one they liked.

Next, practice! The festival has some amazing presenters. The last thing you want to do, is get on a stage and not know what you are talking about. You don’t have to remember a script verbatim if that is not your style. You do however want to make sure you know your stuff inside out. This is also true if you are pitching your product or services. There are a ton of industry leaders at the festival, you never know who might be sitting in your audience. Crowd sizes can range from 20 people to 4,000 people. You don’t want people talking about you and your company for the wrong reasons. Even if you don’t stick to the script, true expertise will keep you on track and confident.

Make the most of your time, If you have been selected to present or are an invited Keynote speaker, make it count. Compared to the rest of the festival, where brands and companies are fighting for eyeballs, in your case the eyeballs have actually sought you out. This gives you the opportunity to address a more engaged and interested audience. Have a clear goal in mind and make sure you know what you want the audience to walk away with.

There are some great tools out there to help you engage! Consider incorporating fun non-linear tools like Prezi, a tool that allows for a conversational presentation format. Another suggestion is Slido, a live Q&A and poling platform that is great for directly interacting with the audience without disrupting the desired flow.  

Lastly, use visuals that wow people! This is easier said than done, since SXSW is already a cornucopia of stimulating visuals, it takes something extra special to really stand out. The approach can be somewhat risky if not executed properly, it can also make a huge difference if done right. We think it’s important for you to know that the bar and expectation levels are extremely high at SXSW. Audiences are want to see and hear something that opens their mind, so don’t sell you presentation short.

If you take the time to sufficiently prepare, you will get to soak it all in. If you want any help along the way, well then Mr.Prezident is here for you.