Recently, I attended the FinCon Expo. This year it was held in New Orleans. I normally go as an attendee, which is something I find helpful for my career. This year, though, I did more than just attend; I moderated a panel.
Being a speaker at the conference helped me raise my career profile, and it was helpful in terms of sparking networking conversations, as well as attracting new clients to my business.
Benefits of Speaking at a Conference
When you are trying to boost your credentials in your career, speaking at a conference can be a good way to provide yourself with some instant credibility. Speaking at a conference establishes you instantly as an expert. You don’t even need to deliver a keynote. I moderated a panel, and it’s something that I can add to my career resume that shows that I have specific skills, and that I am a recognized expert. There’s a lot to be said for being able to call yourself an expert, and having others back that up by allowing you to speak at a conference.
Another benefit of speaking at a conference is the fact that you have the chance to develop some of your soft skills. Presentation skills always come in handy, and can translate to any career field. If you know how to speak to people, you have a valuable skill that others can use. I’m not much when it comes to public speaking, but I enjoyed moderating a panel. While it wasn’t the same as giving a full-on presentation, it did help me learn to organize, put together a small PowerPoint presentation, and get a little more comfortable in front of people. If you are concerned about giving a full presentation, moderating a panel (or just being on one) can be a nice intermediary step.
Many people used the fact that my badge had a “Speaker” designation on it to start up a conversation. Anytime you can encourage conversation with others, it’s a good thing in terms of career advancement. Part of the advantage of speaking at a conference is that it helps you be a little more recognized, and it is an invitation for people to come talk to you. After my panel was over, a number of people approached me to talk about the panel. This gave me a chance to share with them, and I like to think a few of them were able to walk away with something useful. Even if you don’t cement a business relationship immediately, the seed that you plant could sprout later.
Speaking at a conference can provide you with opportunities that you might not have otherwise. You have the chance to hone skills that can come in handy, as well as beef up your resume and improve the quality of your networking. As you look ahead to your career plan, consider conferences in your field, and consider finding out what it takes to attend as a speaker. You’d be amazed at how much it can help your career.