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Last Saturday I presented at  UXDC 2017 in front of hordes of the DC area’s most dedicated UX professionals—and I couldn’t have had a better time doing so. I was honored by the opportunity to present, nervous about being in front of a crowd and relieved once I made it through the presentation. But ultimately, I loved showing off my own insights and connecting with peers in the industry.

Throughout the two-day conference I took notice of the different styles of other presenters, and even asked a few of them if they had any advice about presenting at a conference. After my presentation, I learned a lot about the things I did well and things that I can improve on. Between my observations, questions and personal experience I gathered a few tips to pass along.

Come prepared.

Bring all the materials you are going to need for your presentation. I know this seems obvious but don’t be completely dependent on the conference organizers to have all the materials or accessories you will need. The organizers of UXDC did a great job having all the computer connector and microphones any one person could need. However, you should bring your own computer connectors or other supplementary materials in case your conference experience is different than mine. It’s best to always have a backup plan.

Market your presentation.

A crucial part of being at a conference is the opportunity to connect with other professionals. While you’re out networking you should set time aside to let people know that you are presenting too. Try to find presentations that are similar to yours, and encourage attendees  to come to your presentation for more information. Give them a preview of your presentations content. This is your chance to build up excitement about your presentation and make sure people who will be interested in your topic show up.

Set the mood (with music).

Before you present, and even before people come into the room, start a playlist of music that represents your topic. Create an atmosphere that will put your audience in the right mindset to hear your presentation. Once you’re ready, muting the music is a great way to indicate to the room that it’s time to start.

Less is more.

The goal of a presentation is to communicate an idea. It’s better to have your audience remember one amazing idea than to forget ten good ones. Try to make sure the concept that you are trying to get across fits the amount of time you’re given. Remember, if it took you weeks to organize the information, it may take your audience time to process the information to the depth that you did.

Remember, people came because they wanted to be there.

It can be a bit nerve-racking to present in front of people, but remember that the people who showed up came because they were interested in your topic. All you have to do is be yourself and share your idea. Additionally, finding ways to keep your audience engaged—using interactive activities—will maintain their initial interest and enthusiasm throughout the entire presentation. If you can do that you’re already successful.

Finally, remember to have fun

This one is self explanatory. No matter how the presentation goes, have fun. Make the presentation an enjoyable experience for you and your audience. Smile! It’s the best way to make any presentation go from good to great.

Did you attend #UXDC2017? Tweet us your thoughts on the event, we’d love to hear!