I just spent 4 days in Las Vegas attending a technical conference. I attended 14 different presentations. They ranged from informational to highly technical.
The effectiveness of them varied widely. Unfortunately, the majority were less than memorable, even forgettable. A couple WERE memorable but for the wrong reasons. Only one was truly memorable for the right reasons. As a matter of fact, this one presentation was talked about by attendees more highly than any other. Let me explain why the one out of 14 stood out to me.
The structure of the presentation was logical and easy-to-follow. It was obvious from the flow that the presenter had taken the time to put together his main points before ever starting to craft the presentation itself.
The content was interesting and compelling. Three main points were made and each point was emphasized with a continuing story throughout the presentation. So many times there are no stories to emphasize a point. This is truer in the technical world as it seems that many presenters are scared to include any story. The fear expressed by many is that a technical presentation should only contain “just the facts.” This assumption is totally wrong and this presenter did an outstanding job of using a story to emphasize his points.
The presenter’s delivery of the content was intriguing and engaging. As he spoke, he smiled! What a concept! He actually seemed to enjoy being on stage! When he said something funny, he allowed the audience some time to laugh! He paused at thought-provoking moments, allowing the audience to think about what he said! He didn’t spend his time on stage dancing, meaning that he did not have a case of “happy feet.”
What a joy it was to attend this one presentation. If all technical presenters followed this plan of constructing their presentations this way, tech conferences would be so much more enjoyable. He followed this simple 3-step plan:
My next post will be about the 2 CEOs who I watched at this technical conference and could not believe how they did not follow this plan. I’ll highlight where things went wrong for them and talk about audience reactions during and after the fact.