Over the past 25 years, I’ve seen countless conference sessions and webinars – and presented many of my own. They are a big part of what we do at TMC, which has given me a chance to be part of sessions touching on a wide variety of topics. Some of them have been truly interesting, while others have been, well, to put it mildly, dry.
What I’ve learned, though, is it’s often not the topic that determines success. Regardless of the target audience – service providers, manufacturers, developers, customer service teams, IT and security professionals, corporate leadership, end users – every conference session and webinar has featured a relevant topic. Even though the audience differs from session to session, the topic isn’t typically the success driver. The difference between the best speaking engagements and the rest is the presenter.
I’m not talking about the speaker’s name, title, or company. Certainly, there’s value in brand and name recognition, but the real difference-maker is presentation skills. I’ve seen some sessions I thought would be outstanding that turned out to be, let’s just say, not particularly so. Similarly, I’ve seen sessions for which I had low expectations, simply due to their topics, which turned out to be some of the best sessions I’ve seen.
It’s really not a secret that the secret to a great presentation is the presenter and not the content. Great speakers can take the driest subject matter and keep their audiences engaged, while less prepared presenters can take the most interesting, cutting-edge topics and turn them into snooze-fests.
Presenting is a skill that needs to be honed, just like any other. Ours is an industry that is constantly evolving, with new, exciting ideas and technologies and use cases to talk about at every turn. At the same time, it is inherently complex when you get into the technical details, which can be difficult to turn into an engaging discussion.
It can be done, though. All it takes is awareness, practice, and attention to detail -- maybe a few other things, too. Of course, there’s one piece that’s consistent across any presentation – practice. The more you practice, the better your presentations become.
There are many tips for creating great, engaging presentations that many speakers don’t consider, from the planning phases to the actual presentation. I’m hosting a webinar tomorrow – Why Nerds Aren’t Heard – with David Duffett, who has made a living both presenting and teaching presentation skills. He has been in the tech space for 30+ years, so he knows the nuances of technical speaking well and how to make a dry topic interesting for the audience. If you’ve ever heard him, you know he is certainly engaging.
Through his brand, Let the Geek Speak, David has created a set of keys to successful tech presentations – though the skills he talks about are equally applicable to any industry – which he will share with us during our session. Whether you’re an experienced speaker or getting out in front of an audience for the first time, his focus is really to help techies become better presenters. When speakers feel comfortable, they deliver more impactful presentations and, at the end of the day, that’s a win-win for everyone – the speaker, the audience, and the brand.
Join us for an exciting session that will be very different from most of the tech webinars we’ve hosted, but will help make those other webinars and conference presentations much more engaging. Speaking from experience, it’s not always easy. But, if you’re going to take time to present, it’s worth doing it right, so your audience leaves with a positive experience and gets value from your discussion. David will show you how.
Don’t worry, if you don’t have time to join us tomorrow, the on-demand webinar will be available for viewing following the live event.
Edited by Erik Linask