Yawns, next speaker please

I have no intention to blog today, I need to watch this addictive tv series but as I was glancing through my RSS feeds, I read my favourite author, David Meerman Scott’s really interesting blog post and thought I’ll share it here…

Titled “How to recruit great speakers for your conference (and avoid the terrible ones)” David wrote

In my experience, these awful speakers come in two main categories:

> Those who are chosen by conference organizers because they signed up as a “Platinum Sponsor.” These speakers assume they have the right to bore audiences because they paid for it.

> The second group are “big names” (such as a company CEO). Because these speakers are chosen for their brand value (“hey, he’s CEO of XYZ Company!”) instead of their ability to hold an audience with a compelling presentation, these speakers often suck big time. When one of these big names steps up to the podium, the audience is anticipating something extremely interesting. But then within five minutes of some inane nonsense about how their services work, half the crowd is playing blackberry. Ugh.

Over the years, I attended many conferences, events, summits etc and sat through alot alot alot of very very very boring presentations. If they are FREE,  well, then I guess I can forgive them (I usually got up after 10 minutes and try to excuse myself and go make some coffee outside the conference room and wait for the next speaker to start). For those conferences that I had to pay to sit in, I often feel totally cheated if the speakers were really bad!

As PR folks, we sometimes have to find speaking opportunities for our clients and David is also right to point out that, there will be times, some clients are given speaking time slots because they are big sponsors (but that does not make them great speakers).

David highlighted this interesting conference that asked its “potential speakers” to submit a short YouTube video on a topic that will inspire, and be relevant to the audience. Attendees get to vote who they want to listen to at the conference. The ones with most votes get invited with an expenses paid for trip and a speaking slot at the conference.

I totally love the idea! All conference / events organisers out there, NOTE PLS! Some form of “screening” will be great.

Usually out of a group of 10 speakers, 6 are crap, 2 have some interesting products (so, we just sat there to find out what’s new) and only 2 will be truly brilliant.

The success of a conference often lies in the quality of its speakers. I’ve sat through some really great presentations though and one of them was by Mitch Joel and the other speaker I totally adore is the person I listened to every week – Pastor Joseph Prince who is an amazing speaker!


3 thoughts on “Yawns, next speaker please

  1. You are so utterly right on that. Sometimes, the most successful businessman doesn’t makes him the best public speaker. If the ministers of various countries have to sit through mandatory grooming sessions and public speaking lessons, I wonder how on earth can the fortunes of a businessman command attention on stage with boring speeches.

    Public speaking is definitely a must-learn skill. It is extremely difficult to hold a speech so well to grasp the hearts of the audiences with one sweeping line.

  2. Tell me about it… we are always at the last row dozing off. But that’s not the worst I feel. The worst are those adopting the “sex sells” themes. 90% of the time I walk away without losing out a single bit.

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