I’ve thought long and hard about the type of speaker that I aim to be.
I speak about a bouillabaisse of topics, usually related to one of my books. I don’t write short books and, at least for me, a talk is never about a single, narrow subject. I don’t give boilerplate presentations to my clients. I work with them ahead of the event to ensure that I’m speaking about what they want–and, often just as important, avoiding what they don’t.
Ideally, in-person talks raise the level of discourse. They should set the tone for the conference, seminar, or corporate event. How do they do this? By provoking, inspiring, and informing their audiences.
It’s a privilege to be on stage in front of people. Period. Attention is an increasingly rare commodity. It amazes me when I see speakers taking their audiences for granted.
You can judge speakers by the quality of their slides. I’ve never seen a good speaker reference visual eyesores such as these:
Do you want speakers who create slides like these representing your conference or event?
Slides should be as spartan as possible. Period. They should accentuate speakers’ points, not confuse the audience.
How can you tell the difference? How do you really know if an audience is paying attention to the person on stage?
It’s usually to pretty easy to determine if attendees are really engaged. Ask yourself if they are looking up at the speaker or down at their devices? (Sure, some people may be tweeting, but most of the time they are doing something else.)