May 17, 2011


what's new 500x265
But the write-up looked so intriguing ...

How annoying when a session's title and description don't match what's delivered. Hollywood excels at making trailers that are much more intriguing than the actual movie. Even if you could get your money back, your time is gone forever.

Three Years Ago

In recent weeks, I've seen numerous presentations and noticed they aren't much better than three years ago — and they weren't stellar then. Why haven't they improved?

Here are three problems with many (non-keynote) presentations:
  • boring content or dull delivery
  • not gathering feedback
  • poor follow-up


In The Shallows, Nicholas Carr (Wired link) shows that the Internet has rewired our brains. Audience attention spans are shorter. They want more stimulation. Have you noticed that in yourself?

Also, audiences see world-class presentations online. The 18 minute TED Talks set high standards, even for technical topics. So much can be said so well in such short time. That quality changes audience expectations and sets increasingly high standards. TED's Chris Anderson calls this Crowd Accelerated Innovation.

Many non-TED presentations could be compressed to 18 minutes but they're padded with filler to consume 45-60 minutes.

You might not have months to prepare your presentation. If your talk is a one-off, why not record it live or in the studio. That's what I did and you can too. What you show adds to your reputation. How can that hurt?


We measure what matters and what's measured gets better. Feedback is essential to improve yet isn't routinely collected.

After gathering feedback, why not do something radical: publish the results online (without respondent names). This openness shows attendees that their feedback is taken seriously. The better presenters now have feedback to help with their marketing. Future presenters have a benchmark to exceed, much like the TED speakers.


Applause needn't be where a presentation ends but often is. That's a waste.

No follow-up is worse than poor follow-up. What can you offer attendees? Maybe you've got a newsletter. Can you get pre-approval at the time of registration (put a checkmark here to subscribe)? You can remind attendees during your presentation. The organizers probably won't mind if what you send is consistent with what the talk they asked you to deliver.


PS Recording (and watching) your live presentations is an excellent way to improve. Today, I ordered a Zoom Q3HD (product page).

No comments:

Post a Comment