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Nothing But The Ruth!

Provide Maximum Value When You Speak at Conferences

By Ruth Carter

Last month, I was asked to speak at BlogPaws, a national conference for pet bloggers. (Yes, I got to take Rosie the basset hound with me.) I was part of a panel that presented a three-hour workshop called “Legal Dos and Dont’s of Blogging and Social Media.” This time, I deployed some new techniques to maximize the impact of the talk, and I think they worked.

Before the workshop. Even with three hours, there was no way we could cover every major topic of social media law. So before the event, I compiled a list of my top 10 blog posts that address legal topics that impact bloggers and social media influencers. (This is another reason why lawyers should have blogs.) I drafted an email that included this list of links and some additional material about entrepreneurship and how to connect with me on social media.

During the workshop. At the beginning of our workshop, we introduced each presenter with a bio slide that included their Twitter handle. Before we got into the “meat” of the presentation, we asked the audience a simple question: “What questions do you hope to get answered during this workshop?” Our PowerPoint for the workshop was already complete, but having audience members yell out what they wanted helped us tailor the session to their needs. It also got them engaged and interacting with us. (A lot of people assume legal presentations are boring. I wanted to extinguish those thoughts from the start.)

During the workshop, I told the attendees about my email list of 10 blog posts and said I would send it to everyone who left me their card. The table where I asked them to put their cards had my business card and my law firm’s swag. The workshop ended with a happy audience and more than 40 business cards from people who wanted the bonus material.

After the workshop. I headed back to my room and tweaked the email I had prepared for attendees to include additional material referenced during the question-and-answer portion of the presentation. The audience liked the charity provision of my blog’s terms of service, so I included a link with permission to anyone who wished to add it to their website. The next day, an attendee mentioned that she was impressed that I sent the email out within a few hours. She expected it in a few weeks.

Bonus Benefits of the Follow-up Email

We had the good fortune to teach this workshop on the first day of the event. For the remainder of the weekend, I received positive feedback and follow-up questions from attendees. When I met people who said they were disappointed that they missed my workshop, or who were otherwise interested in social media law, I asked for their card and offered to send them a copy of the same resources. It was a wonderful way to connect with an even broader audience than those who attended the session.

A Word of Caution about Your Mailing List

My follow-up email of resources included an invitation for people to add themselves to my mailing list. I did not automatically add people to the list myself. It is disrespectful and annoying to add people to your mailing list without their explicit consent, so don’t do it. I did add the information from each business card to my contact database to follow-up with them on an individual basis.

The Next Time You Speak at an Event

I encourage you to use any of these tactics when you are speaking at seminars or other events and to let me know how it goes. I will be curious to see if any of these tactics will have an impact weeks or months after the conference. It would be nice if it turns into business for my practice, but my goal was to provide quality resources to the audience.

Image ©ImageZoo.

Categories: Business Development, Communications Skills, Daily Dispatch, Nothing But The Ruth!
Originally published July 18, 2016
Last updated August 11, 2018
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Ruth Carter Ruth Carter

Ruth Carter — lawyer, writer and professional speaker — is Of Counsel with Venjuris, focusing on intellectual property, business, internet and flash mob law. Named an ABA Journal Legal Rebel, Ruth is the author of “The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers,” as well as “Flash Mob Law: The Legal Side of Planning and Participating in Pillow Fights, No Pants Rides, and Other Shenanigans.” Ruth blogs at and

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