Welcome to the world of conferences starring your industry speaker’s slide deck with a supporting role by you.
If Ebert and Roper critiqued our conference presentations instead of movies, they would announce a huge two thumbs down for the majority of our speakers.
If Entertainment Tonight was Conference Tonight, they would report a colossal loss of money, resources and time for 90%-95% or our under-performing conference presentations.
With the core of our conferences and meetings depending upon good presentations, why do so few organizations commit budget, resources and time to help industry speakers improve their presentations? Why do we continue to secure poor communicators as speakers every year and expect better results?
The Slide Deck Groan
We’ve all been there when the leader turns on the LCD projector and a PowerPoint presentation appears.
Internally we groan. Our insides scream. Our palms sweat. Our eyes roll. We want to run for the door. We know what’s coming next…a long, lengthy diatribe about the nothingness of nothing. It sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Wah, wah, wah, wah.”
We are a society that anticipates a boring, poorly designed and communication-impoverished presentation. We expect conferences to have deprived content, bankrupt presentations and insignificant speakers.
Why? Only a small percentage of speakers deliver a well-thought out and well communicated presentation. Only a handfull of conference deliver the goods.
The Ubiquitous Presentation
Presentations are the go-to ubiquitous communication tool used by most. They are the core of conference content. They are the start-up step for entrepreneurs seeking funding. They are the entry way for development of new products and services. They are the report instrument for committees and boards.
The success of conferences, events and meetings often depends on the quality of presentations. Similarly, ineffective presentations can slaughter the careers of leaders, meeting professionals and speakers.
Presentations are everywhere. And presentation software is the most used tool that creates these feeble visual communications.
Ultimately we can keep blaming PowerPoint for the decay. In reality, conference organizers need to take the responsibility. They secured these speakers that provided trivial talks.
NSFC: Marginal Presentations
Not safe for conferences: marginal presentations.
If we want to continue to churn out marginal conferences with marginal experiences with marginal presentations with marginal speakers, we should continue on our current path. Do nothing.
If we want to create great conference experiences that resonate with our audiences, learning to create effective presentations is imperative. The success of our conference depends upon it.
As conference organizers, we have to change our approach to picking speakers. We have to up the ante. We have to set a new standard. We have to demand better.
We need to start evaluating our potential speaker’s ability to communicate. We need to evaluate their understanding of learning. We need to analyze if they know how to communicate visually with the PPT.
We need to invest in helping our industry speakers become better presenters. Every presenter has the potential to be awesome. Every presentation is high stakes. Every audience deserves the best.
Why do conference organizers separate logistics and content into two separate silos and then only take responsibility for the logistics? How have you helped your industry speakers improve their presentations?