A marketing director was presenting at a conference.
He showed a social networking video which was familiar to many of the 300 strong audience. At first just a few heads tilted downwards to tweet their reaction. Then, more Mexican nod than wave, more and more of the audience joined in the twitter conversation.
Meanwhile, he was more drowning than waving…with barely any attention focussed on him.
Presenting at conferences has got much riskier. A few years back you could prepare something interesting, turn up, and if your billing and opening were strong and authoritative people would listen.
Now as presenters we have to negotiate for our audience’s interest and work our butts off to keep them engaged when other conversation tempts.
Here are seven suggestions to help:
1. Fixate on the attendees list, what they do, where they come from and how you can fit with their concerns.
2.Avoid deference or formality. Use personal experience and a goal of being of interest and relevance. You are not Steve Jobs. Not yet anyway.
3.Plan action for your audience, rather than just listening. Top presenter Dan Sodergren gets his audience to tell each other ‘I like you’. Hilarious, embarrassing and memorable.
4.Do reveal any assumptions you’ve made in creating your presentation.
5.Which may require expansion like ‘I’ve assumed everyone’s familiar with this project. If not to sum it up quickly…’
6.Don’t allow others to overly direct your content. Base it on your passion, beliefs and experience. You’re the one who’ll get the tweets, remember…
7.Worry less about being liked and attractive and more about engaging your specific audience, making impact and getting your point over.
And one extra and vital point:
Charge enough.Twitter is a huge help to presenters in creating reach for our messages. But all this is going to involve more preparation time to create great content. Value this.