November 15, 2013
Not to get all Dickensian on you but it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That was the case at a conference I attended recently. To accommodate the schedules of two high powered CEOs who agreed to speak during the lunch session, the meeting organizers scheduled two keynote addresses during the meal.
That’s a risky agenda move but one that could work if both speakers rock the house. Unfortunately that was not the case. The first speaker was awesome. The second speaker was just awesomely bad. So bad, in fact, that after 30 minutes I just couldn’t stand it anymore and slipped out the back door of the ballroom. It turned out I wasn’t alone. There were other terrible speech refugees hanging around waiting for the next session to start.
One of them was a guy I had met earlier in the day. We both exchanged knowing looks which indicated why we were both standing in the lobby. I asked him, “Why do you think the first speaker was so great and we’re standing out here to escape from the second one?”
Here’s what we came up with. Consider it a list of things to do and not to do when you’re asked to give a presentation.
Definitely Don’t Do...
I’ll spare you the enumeration of what the second CEO did to bomb so badly. Let’s just leave it at he more or less did the exact opposite of what the first speaker did. He was flat in every sense of the word. He spent most of his time talking about his own career. His stories were mainly about battles he had had with his board members and other executives. Ugh, ugh and ugh. In short, he did not connect at all. (And, oh yeah, he touched every base on one of my all time most popular post, Three Signs Your Slide Deck Stinks.)
What about you? Based on recent experience, what’s on your list of things that presenters who kill it do? What do the presenters who bomb do?
November 15, 2013