Home' micenet eMag : micenet December 2018 Contents EVENTS MAKE SENSE | BRYAN HOLLIDAY
IN SEARCH OF
The real news can be found at conferences, says Bryan Holliday.
onald Trump has over 52
million Twitter followers. That’s
double the population of
Australia. But why?
He argues that traditional media
outlets distort his views and opinions so he
chooses to communicate directly with his
flock. This is a very clever strategy as in
addition to the individuals who receive his
messages, the very media that he criticises
also publicise what he says.
With the advent of the phrase “fake news”
it’s really difficult to decipher what’s true and
This is where business events come to
If a presenter is addressing an audience,
it’s highly likely that the person is telling
Naturally, all information is open to interpretation but in the case of meetings the delegates
have an immediate opportunity to challenge the presenter.
There is now a growing body of evidence that the novelty of digitally transmitted information is
losing its appeal.
According to Dr Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego University, members of
iGen – people born between 1995 and 2012 – are going out with friends less often, feeling “left
out” and not enjoying life. There’s even research that “sucking on the glass teat” can affect
A recent article in the News Ltd press reported that when 90 pairs of strangers were asked to
wait together for 10 minutes, video analysis revealed that those without phones smiled at each
other for an average of 150 seconds compared with just 90 seconds for those people who were
allowed to keep their mobiles with them.
Interestingly, sales of “dumb” phones which deny internet access grew globally by five per
cent in 2017.
At this time of year it’s vital to re-confirm the value of business events. They’re not occasions
for endless recreation, they’re not a means of justifying domestic and international travel, they’re
vitally important forums that progress the human condition. m
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for 10 years. So in honour of that I’m going
to condense all that material down to a
clickbait 10 Commandments For Presenters.
1. Do More Presentations
Research all the TED videos you like but the
single factor that makes you better at
presentations is just doing lots of them. There
is no substitute for clocking up the stage
hours. You just get more relaxed and it frees
up the parts of the brain that notice audience
reactions in real time.
2. Research Your Audience
So many presenters have their one
presentation with its one PowerPoint deck
and they just use it every time, maybe with a
new title slide. It’s just presentation spam.
Every audience is different. Take the time to
find out as much as you can about them,
and make it special for them.
3. Test Your Presentation Offline
Lots of speakers turn up at a venue, fire up
their presentation, and their showpiece video
just comes up as a dead link. It worked fine
at the office, because the video was on the
intranet. The time to discover that is not
when the audience is walking in.
4. Record Yourself Rehearsing
All of us have mannerisms and catch phrases
we use over and over. You don’t notice them
because they’re hard-wired into your personal
style. Then you watch a video of you and
realise you say ‘going forward’ every ten
seconds like some cheap happy meal talking
Ian Whitworth condenses it all down to the 10 presenter commandments.
toy. Record your practice session and you’ll be glad some of that material never made it to the stage.
5. What’s In It For Them?
There are only two ways to sell anything to anyone: by showing you can bring them pleasure, or
take away their pain. When in doubt, pain wins. Ask yourself, how will my topic make the
audience’s lives easier? Because they really don’t share your obsessive interest in your subject.
6. Get A PowerPoint Preview Monitor
If it’s a presentation of any size or significance, arrange a preview monitor in front of the stage.
You cannot be facing away from the audience looking at the screen behind you like you’re
wondering what comes next. It’s an insult to them.
7. Don’t End On Q&A
People remember the start and finish of your presentation. Finish strong like a rock star, tell
them you’re available for questions at the break, and leave the stage. Q&A puts you at the
mercy of weird audience randoms who could say anything. Then you end on “well I guess there
are no further questions” like an uninteresting loser.
8. Rehearse On Site
The stage environment is completely different to the boardroom where you practiced the show.
It’s dark, lights in your eyes, unfamiliar controls. Get there early, get to know the AV crew, spend
time getting used to the stage like a pro.
9. Stick To Your Time Slot
Every presenter in human history has prepared too much material. Get a timer and stick to your
limit. You are not the most important thing happening that day so show some respect.
10. Eye Contact
An audience isn’t a single giant organism, like the Great Barrier Reef. Find different individuals
around the crowd, and talk to them like they’re the only person in the room. It will transform
your facial expression and vocal tone like nothing else.
And I think 10 years is quite long enough to write a column on one topic, so I’m going to
pass it on to someone else to give you some fresh perspectives. It’s been great fun, being in the
events industry is so much better than working in pharmaceuticals or finance or all those other
things our clients do. Many thanks to Brad Foster for running all my weird stuff. I’ll still be writing
weekly about general business over on the www.ianwhitworth.net site.
Now, does anyone have any questions? Just kidding bye. m
EDITOR’S NOTE: Cheers Ian for your always entertaining and on-time articles. As always I will continue
to look forward to your weekly bites of the real way business is done in this PC-mad world.
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