Speaker Resource Center

Speaker Resource Center

Welcome to Association Forum's Speaker Resource Center

We’ve pulled a few resources together to help you prepare for your speaking engagement at Association Forum or elsewhere.

Interested in submitting a session idea?

Association Forum develops content year-round and refers to ideas submitted through this form as needs arise. If you have a proposal for a presentation, either in-person or virtual, we welcome your input! If there is a fit, a Forum staff member will contact you to discuss this in further detail.

Already a confirmed speaker?

Here are some resources to help you develop an effective session: 

Session Goal – Identify a clear goal for your presentation. What core issue or challenge does your session address or attempt to resolve?
· Stay at a strategic level as much as possible, avoid getting too tactical
· Basic/tactical level is acceptable if you are exploring a new concept but intermediate/advanced level is expected for a majority of Forum content.

Content Focus – Consider if this topic needs to be narrowed or broadened to be effective.
· If the topic itself is not new, how would you approach presenting this in a unique and thought-provoking way that meets the needs of Forum participants now?
· Ensure the content is not promotional. Attendees are quick to notice any commercialism resulting in distrust between the audience and the speaker and the brand. If you are a supplier, the best way to gain credibility is to demonstrate your expertise and authority about the topic generally, and not mention how your solution is preferred. In addition, consider bringing in a client to co-present.
· Are the key takeaways scalable for associations of different sizes and budgets? Include tips for scalability.
· Research shows that sharing learnings through stories helps ensure that content sticks. Plan to share a few stories to illustrate the key takeaways. 

Session Format – What type of engaging delivery format or room setup would work well?
· Long table, deconstructed panel, fish bowl, table discussion, breakout groups, team activities, etc. What are ways to engage the audience in active learning that are particularly relevant to this topic?
· How many speakers/points of view do you need for a well-rounded session? Avoid bringing in too many speakers or the key points may get muddled and session interactivity will be difficult.

*Pro tip - For every fifteen minutes of presentation, plan an activity to engage the audience and reinforce the main themes you are covering.

Write Effective Session Copy

Session Titles- Your goal is no different than writing a headline for an article or an email subject line: What will get the reader to keep reading? Clever is good, but authenticity is key. It should entice people to read the description and include enough information so they'll understand the topic even if they don’t read the description.

· 10 words or less

Session Descriptions - Focus on WIIFM - participants want to know: what’s in it for me? Session descriptions should address how the session will benefit individual attendees and/or their organizations. Make a case for why this topic is important, urgent, and helpful. Include information about the session format and interactivity so they know what to expect from the experience.

· Four to five short sentences
· 75 – 100 words

Learning Objectives – These are the specific key takeaways from the session. They refer to what the participant will be able to recall after attending the session. They should be reinforced throughout the session and are a good way to ensure you keep your presentation focused. 

· Begin with an action verb in the present tense
· Must be measurable - do not use “know” or “understand”
· No more than one learning objective per 15-20 minutes of session time.

*Pro tip - Many participants read the title, then the learning objectives, and finally the description if those two content pieces intrigue them. Keep this in mind when crafting your copy.

PowerPoint Tips:
· Bring a backup copy of your presentation to the session
· Embed graphics and video to share your story visually
· Less is more when it comes to text on slides
· Include your contact information on your last slide

Recommended Number of Slides:
· 45 min presentation = 15 slides max
· 60 min presentation = 20 slides max
· 75 min presentation = 25 slides max
· 90 min presentation = 30 slides max


Feel free to share your thoughts with our team at education@associationforum.org and we will be sure to review all feedback! Also, contact us if you have additional resources that you’ve found helpful and we may add them to the list above!