Originally published on Forbes.com by Forbes Agency Council on July 17, 2019.

If you want to be known as a thought leader in your industry, you’ll need to build both your personal brand and your business’ brand. Speaking at industry events is a great way to do this, as it helps you establish credibility and awareness for yourself and your company with a large number of your target audience at once.

However, even if you land a great speaking gig, you’ll still have to deliver a memorable speech that will resonate with listeners long after your presentation ends. We asked the experts of Forbes Agency Council how to make your speech the highlight of the event. Here’s what they had to say.

Members of Forbes Agency Council offer tips for making a memorable speech at an industry event.

Members of Forbes Agency Council offer tips for making a memorable speech at an industry event.


1. Tell A Story

When you’re on stage, there is a built-in assumption that you are knowledgeable on the subject. By selecting a crucial point and creating a meaningful story, your presentation will be more interesting and have a higher recall. The goal is not to fill an attendee’s notebook. It is to create a desire to connect with you afterward. – Korena KeysKeyMedia Solutions

2. Offer One Key Takeaway

What’s the one thing you can give your audience that nobody else can? Focus on one key takeaway. Start the presentation with your key message, and use a storyline to build your audience’s trust in the key message. This forcing-function exercise will ensure that you are able to deliver something that is clear, concise and that audiences will remember. – Preethy VaidyanathanTapad

3. Give A Live Demonstration

One of the most important things to remember when you are giving a speech is that people hear talk all the time. To get the attention of your audience, the thing that is really important is to show them something that they have not seen before. That means that you need to look at a way to shock and inspire your audience. – Jon JamesIgnited Results

4. Challenge Assumptions

Speaking at an industry event isn’t about you, it’s about your audience. If you’re just there to present the same pablum they can get in other sessions, why bother creating a PowerPoint and flying halfway across the country? Come up with an angle that challenges your audience’s assumptions. Present data they will be surprised to learn. Provide a case study with an unusual twist. Be different. – Scott BaradellIdea Grove

5. Focus On Your Delivery

It doesn’t matter how good the content is if your audience is bored and finds their minds wandering. The best content can be useless if the delivery is poor, and bad content can be engaging if the speaker is passionate. – Valerie ChanPlat4orm PR

6. Provide Context And Relevant Insights

We are here to hear you speak. So tell us a real story from your experience. Give us the context and the insights of how your team accomplished a goal—the challenges you faced, the issues you could have never predicted and the ultimate outcomes. But keep it relevant to the audience. What can we learn from your experience and apply in our careers and organizations? Your speech is to benefit us. – Kris FlintCitizen Best

7. Share Your Challenges, Not Just Your Successes

Every company has had a “stay humble” moment—a moment when things didn’t go exactly as planned. I remember the execs who are willing to share the obstacles they’ve faced and how they’ve been able to overcome them. Hearing only about the things that worked makes you feel as if you’re doing something wrong. We all make mistakes. Let’s share and learn from them. – Lori PaikinNaviStone®

8. Hire A Coach

A speaking coach is worth their weight in gold. There are so many factors to consider: audience, conference agenda, topic, amount of time for the speech, time of day (after lunch slump?), A/V concerns and so much more. A great coach will help you work through these so you really shine. They’ll help you craft your message and practice your delivery so you dazzle your audience. Get coaching. – Randy ShattuckThe Shattuck Group

9. Keep It Clean, Compelling And Simple

As execs, we’re all guilty of jamming too much into our presentations at times. We can’t assume people will be as interested in what we share as we are. We must view presentations as shows designed to captivate the attention of our audience. Memorizing a presentation and having a clean, compelling and visually stunning deck to support strong ideas is the formula for a winning industry speech. – Mary Ann O’BrienOBI Creative

10. Nail Your Introduction

Nail your intro and tell a story. That first five minutes with the crowd is critical. Most presenters say, “Hi, thanks for coming today, I’m John Smith, CFO of ….” Game over. Everyone’s asleep. Start by asking a question or setting up the problem you’re going to solve. What’s your story that leads to the solution? Bulleted lists will be forgotten—a captivating story will not. – Bernard MayNational Positions

11. Be Comfortable And Casual

Making a speech does not mean you have to read, word by word, something you drafted in a Word document. I recommend knowing what your talking points are, being comfortable with them and then getting on stage and seeing where it goes. Interact with your audience, have fun and be casual. Standing at a podium and reading off of a piece of paper will put your audience to sleep. – Zachary BinderBell + Ivy

12. Let Your Authentic Self Shine Through

To really capture an audience’s attention (and get them to remember what you said) you need to be able to connect on a human level. Tell personal anecdotes about how the topic affected your life or why you became interested in it. Paint a vision of how it will affect the audience’s life. Most of all, be genuine. The more of the real you is in your presentation, the more it will resonate. – Jodi AmendolaAmendola Communications