4

Every so often, after sitting through enough tedious conference presenters, I reach my rant point on bad presentations. This is one of those times.

5 Things all Conference Presenters Must Stop Doing Right Away

Here’s my current rant on five things all presenters must stop doing right away:
Keynote-Presenter

1. Being smug

Confident is great. Self-assured is important. Smug, however is simply off-putting. You KNOW the successful case study story you’re telling wasn’t as successful as you are portraying. We know we’re getting the no-warts version. So ditch being smug and be a real human.

2. Being boring

If a conference organizer decided to put you in front of an audience, you have a duty to be engaging. Okay, you have a duty to at least TRY to be engaging. There are obviously degrees of being engaging, and it’s just not in the cards for everyone. But that doesn’t give you the right to quit trying. If you’re not going to try, then we have no obligation to make the painful effort to follow along.

3. Using an unfunny corporate video as a crutch

If your corporate video is truly funny, go for it. But the humor better be obvious, well-done, and a little bit over the top for it to work. Trust me, corporate irony ISN’T funny. It’s probably not funny to your own people (even though they won’t tell you that), and it sure as hell isn’t funny to all of us who just met you.

4. Showing a boring corporate video to fill time

One video in a series to give us an idea of what you’ve been doing is okay. Three or four that are pretty much the same (at least to our uninterested eyes) are simply time fillers. If you need to stretch that much, either give some of your time back to keep the event on schedule or open yourself up to questions earlier.

5. Not giving yourself room to adjust your presentation

I know how many people the organizer told you would be there. I know they told you it was going to be in the main ballroom. They DIDN’T tell you they were going to stick you in a crappy presentation slot on the last day when at most 25% of the big ballroom is filled and it feels like an empty airplane hangar. But you have a planned presentation that just doesn’t work without enough people. Anticipate that you WON’T have the best speaking situation and be prepared to adjust what you’re planning to suit the pile of crap speaking slot the conference organizer hands you.

That’s my rant about conference presenters.

What do you think? What things would do you want to see changed in conference presentations right away? – Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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4 Responses to “5 Things all Conference Presenters Must Stop Doing Right Away”

  1. Good rant, Mike! My favorite part: “Trust me, corporate irony ISN’T funny. It’s probably not funny to your own people (even though they won’t tell you that), and it sure as hell isn’t funny to all of us who just met you.” 🙂

  2. Mark McArthur-Christie says:

    I’d just love it if conference organisers would ask the odd consultant (with something to say) to speak – rather than the usual ‘pay to speak’ deal. Clients don’t have the monopoly on good ideas, decent case studies or ability to hold an audience!

    • Mike Brown says:

      That’s an interesting issue, Mark. When I moved from the corporate world to the provider world, some speaking opportunities where I’d proven myself numerous times dried up because my role changed – even though my speaking style and focus on valuable content devoid of promoting my company hadn’t.