Q.Whenever I go to a conference I notice some speakers are exciting and spellbinding and others make me want to leave. What can I do when it's my turn? I have the feeling that management is getting ready to send me out and I want my "dog and pony show" to be exciting.
Ans. You're smart to pay attention and notice the difference. Many listeners at conferences simply fall asleep, and when they do it in the front rows it's disturbing to the speakers. But that's really the speakers' faults. When it's your turn, think in terms of giving a performance, not a speech. Don't think about forcing important information down the audience's throat (with the help of boring graphs and pie charts.) Instead, give three points of information and do it with anecdotes, examples and enthusiasm. Keep your voice up, keep moving about the stage and, most importantly, keep making eye contact with different people in your audience. Stop now and then, invite their opinion about the point you just made, and ask if they have questions. The point is to wake up the sleepers. For more tips read Carmine Gallo's "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, " (MH Professional, $15.99).