My Public Speaking Debut – A Personal Story

We sat down with Account Director, Aira Reyes as she made her debut hosting her first industry event as one of the featured speakers. Webgains was the Exclusive Headline Sponsor for Affiliate Summit Europe 2020. A world-first for showcasing the very best of female talent and leaders in the affiliate marketing industry.



Hi Aira, firstly congratulations on your roundtable. How did you feel, being asked to take part in AS Europe?

I have always admired anyone that can speak in public – the confidence they portray, their ability to influence, inspire and engage audiences. I also love the thrill and the challenge that embracing new experience brings. I have done many presentations with clients and within the company and invited to speak at AS Europe was an honour. However, my first thought was not to “do it”, but what if things go wrong. Then I thought “if they can do it, why can’t I?”.


We are glad you took the risk. So, tell us, as it was your first time, what did you do to prepare?

My main role was to moderate a panel and encourage the audience to discuss and share their challenges when it comes to the recruitment of new affiliates. Based on this, I started to put together a list of the challenges that our clients have raised and the ones that I have faced myself. I explored what are the strategies that we have implemented, and I read blogs and articles to gather insights into what other people are commenting on with regards to the topic. This allowed me to prepare a set of questions to encourage participation.


How supported did you feel, leading up to and during your experience of AS Europe?

The support was amazing! The Webgains team did a great job at encouraging me and providing support during the whole process. We had various calls to give shape to the session, making sure the questions were relevant and they were full of tips and tricks on how to run panels. At Webgains we have many experienced public speakers so getting their insight was invaluable. The Affiliate Summit team were also very supportive – knowing that there was someone to deal with any tech issues takes most of the pressure away.


What was it like hosting an event virtually and during the current lockdown?

I definitely prefer face to face interaction, but it was great to see how we all come together and adapted so quickly to try to make this event as successful as possible given the current circumstances. So much happens behind the scenes to deliver an event of this magnitude and it is a great way to make attendance accessible to a wider audience. It was great to contribute by hosting one of the sessions.


How did you feel your Roundtable session went for you, was it how you thought it would go?

We had great attendees and their participation was key. The audience was very diverse – different verticals, countries, level of experience which allowed the conversation to flow nicely. Being the first event I’ve ever run by myself there was, of course, a lot of room for improvement but overall a great learning experience.


How did you feel after the session?

I was happy that I put myself out there, it is a great way to build on your profile. It is not an easy task but only practice will allow us to become better.


What top tips would you give to others who are looking to do public speaking at events like Affiliate Summit? 

Arrive early so you can adjust to the setting and make sure all the technical moving parts are working. Gather a list of attendees prior to the session and look them up on LinkedIn. The key is to know your audience.  If you are hosting, prepare a list of questions to aid engagement and help with the flow of the session. And if you are presenting think about all the possible questions your presentation may trigger. Relax, every experience is a learning opportunity.


Some great advice there Aira, and finally, would you do it again? 

Yes, I would.


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