Speaking publicly about your data science projects is one of the best things you can do for your portfolio.
Writing your presentation will help you refine what your project is, who it is for, and how it relates to other work in the area.
Giving your presentation at a live, in-person event will make a large impact on the audience.
That being said, public speaking has its drawbacks. For example:
- Time to prepare. While your talk might take just 30 minutes to deliver, you could easily spend weeks writing and rehearsing it.
- Cost. Some talks, such as those at local meetups, might be free to attend. But some will require significant travel. That costs money, even if your conference ticket is free.
- Limited upside. When you deliver a conference talk, your upside is limited in two ways:
- Reach. Only the people in the room at the time of your talk can hear your message.
- Interaction. Your interaction with the audience is normally limited to a few minutes of Q&A, and whatever conversations you have with people during the rest of the conference.
In my experience, this third pain point is the most significant. After all, if you had reached 10x the number of people with your last talk, then you probably would have been willing to spend more time writing it. And you probably would have been willing to travel further to give it.
Imagine if your talk wasn’t limited by the conference itself
For a moment, try to ignore the limits that the conferences place on your talk.
Imagine if members of the audience could ask you questions days, or even weeks, after you gave your talk. Wouldn’t that be a game changer?
And what about all the people who care about your topic but couldn’t make it to the conference? Wouldn’t it be great if they could hear your talk as well?
All of this is possible
I’ve recently worked out a system to solve these problems in my own public speaking events. My talks now reach more people than ever before, and lead to more interactions than ever before.
Before giving you the exact system I use, let me tell you the technology that you’ll need in order to implement it. Note that some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I may get a commission if you wind up purchasing after clicking these links:
- A self-hosted WordPress website. I use BlueHost.
- An Email Service so you can follow up with people. I use Drip.
- A Webinar Provider. I use Zoom.
- A Landing Page Builder. I use Thrive.
Step 1: Let the Audience Download your Slides
Before the conference, take out a url such as <ConferenceName>Slides.com. The URL should be easy for the audience to remember. Set the URL to redirect to a separate page on your website.
This page should a “landing page”. This means that the only Call-to-Action (CTA) on the page should be for the reader to enter their email address so that you can send them the slides.
I recommend that the last slide in your deck contain just this URL. When the slide appears, say “If you would like to download the slide deck I used for this talk, visit this URL and enter your email address. I will then email you the slides.”
Set up an automated email campaign just for this opt-in. The first email should fire immediately and send them the slides. The second email should fire a few days later, and ask people if they enjoyed the slides or have any questions.
This tip alone should multiply the chances you have to interact with your audience after the talk ends.
Step 2: Host a Post-Conference Webinar
The sad fact is this: most people who would enjoy your talk won’t be in the audience. No conference can get even a fraction of the people who are interested in a topic. The best way around this is to host a live webinar where you go through the same exact same slides as your presentation.
The week after your presentation, publish a blog post where you announce that you’ll be giving the same talk, but this time as a live webinar. Drive traffic to the registration page by announcing it on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
The biggest impact your talk will have is the in-person presentation at the conference. The second biggest impact will be the live webinar.
Step 3: Use the Webinar Recording
After giving the webinar, you will now have a recording of the presentation. This is great because (again) most people who are interested in your talk will not have been at the conference, and will not have attended your live webinar.
You can host the recording on your own website or on youtube. When you get a new subscriber, point them to the recording. You can also periodically drive traffic to the recording on social media.
Step 4: Post Your Slides Online
A week after your webinar I recommend posting your slides online. I also recommend creating a content upgrade so that readers can download the slides. A “content upgrade” simply means that readers enter their email address, and that you then email them the slides.
This step will probably have the highest volume (i.e. the most people will interact with your content in this form), but the least impact (i.e. people will not get as much out of interacting with your talk in this form).
As a data scientist with an online portfolio, conference talks are probably the most valuable type of content you create. Without additional effort, though, that value will be limited to people who are in the audience at the time of your presentation.
With just a little bit of work, though, you can overcome that limitation and have more followup with your audience and reach more people.