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Seeking ROI from Conference Presenters

November 6th, 2009 · 1 Comment

BLUF Presenters at conferences had a duty to the audience to deliver ROI
for the time you are taking from them. If you have 100 people in a room
for 1 hour they deserve 100 hours of ROI. Pay them back for their
investment.

Begin RANT: (Note: I changed the title of this blog, the original title
was “Some Speakers are A$$holes” but I felt that was a little too much.)

It’s been a very busy time here in New York. With several major
advertising/public relations/marketing related shows in the last few
weeks. I’ve been to several shows recently and I’ve seen dozens of
presentations, speeches and panels. The quality always varies, which is
to be expected.
But what I can’t really abide, what I’m going to rant about here, is
speakers who disrespect the audience. Doing something because it’s what
you want to do, instead of doing what’s right for the audience is an
insult to the people sitting in front of you. It wastes the one thing
they can’t get more of, TIME. Some of the people in your audience paid
a lot of money, and traveled long distances. Others (like me) get
passes for free, and traveled a few miles. But one thing all of the
people in the audience are giving you is their time. And for you as a
speaker to waste it and not give everything you can to the audience is
simply arrogant and insulting.

The keynote speech at Ad:Tech this week was delivered by a rather short
man, who choose to stand in the center aisle of very large room. There
were over 1000 people present, and he was hard to see. He spoke from
paper notes which he carried and flipped the pages rather annoyingly. It was abundantly clear to everyone that he had not prepared, or
rehearsed. As the CEO of the largest advertising agency in the universe he has the
right to do as he wishes, 99.99% of the time. However when you have
taken 1000 hours from 1000 other people they deserve 1000 hours of
effort from your presentation. That would include perhaps a
presentation with a few visual images, and even a video or two. As the
CEO of a major creative organization you should have the resources to
prepare a presentation that could inform and entice, and entertain your
audience. Instead of delivering your speech from handwritten notes
scribbled in the cab on your way here.

Too often the higher the level of a speaker at an event the worse the
presentation. Perhaps it’s that these executives feel they and their
time is worth more than the collective time of everyone else in the
room. They feel that they don’t need to bother to prepare, rehearse and
present. That their mere presence should be enough to satisfy us.

I once saw a speaker at an event (who I won’t identify) who had prepared
their powerpoint presentation using the touch screen on their new PC on
the airplane on the way to the conference. Some in that audience
remarked how refreshing and innovative the presentation was. I felt it
was very insulting to tell the audience in effect, “you aren’t worth the
time for me to bother to have prepared ahead of time.” If you are a speaker or an event coordinator I ask that you consider the
ROI equation for your audience. How many hours do you expect your
audience to put into a given presentation? How many hours should you
advise your presenters to spend preparing? A 25 minute conference call
the day before the show isn’t sufficient. There needs to be balance in
this equation. You need to respect the time your audience is giving
you. I can’t think of 1 good reason to respect those who don’t.

End of Rant.

Posted via email from ckieff’s posterous

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