Just written an email about how speakers should conduct themselves…
Published here for reference:
Don’t make the assumption the audience is dumb. Ever.
Do present compelling content.
Do make the time spent worthwhile.
The best content is a story, a case study or a learning.
The best speakers speak from the heart and through experience, not from a practiced powerpoint.
The best content is 20 to 30 mins long, is uncomplicated, has 3 core messages, and has slides with one single point on each, and no more than 10 slides.
The best speakers have the audience on the edge of their seat, or in the palm of their hands, in the first 5 mins.
Do respect the audience, do respect the time they give to listen.
Do remember that everyone is ahead of someone else, and behind someone else. We are all learning every day. No-one has it all figured out. Well, maybe Elon Musk has a little 😉
Be honest, be open, be curious, be humble and most of all make sure the audience walk away just a little richer for the time they gave you.
Don’t do corporate bullsh!t. People see through it immediately.
Don’t do sales pitches. Everyone has heard them, they are boring. The audience is there to learn something, not pay R500 to get sold to.
Don’t do Death by Powerpoint.
Don’t have a speaker who can’t answer questions.
People see right through suits & ties at an event where people are learning. A tie doesn’t infer seniority. Hopefully you’re not wearing a tie right now.
These are all simple things, but believe me I’ve seen an audience of 6k people turn on Mark Zuckerberg in 15 mins when being interviewed by Sarah Lacy (http://www.wired.com/2008/03/sxsw-mark-zucke/) and it was a train wreck.
Put a big brand on the stage with poor content, and the audience will turn and tweet about it mercilessly.
Put a big brand on stage, and give the audience something they can chew on, and they will sing their praises all day.
PayPal did it well last year.
XXXXX sent in a sales guy, and the auditorium emptied in 20 mins because he pulled out a powerpoint and told an audience full of tech people that XXXXXXXXXXX….
^^ above to protect the reputations of people who should know better.