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Posts Tagged ‘presentation’

Most of the time, when I am asked by an event or conference to keynote or conduct a training session about brand management, social media ROI, or social media program development, I deliver some sort of presentation, eithet using Powerpoint or Prezi. The presentation format helps me create a structured visual narrative for my audience, and the visuals help clarify some of my points, which aren’t always easy to explain in a short amount of time. The presentations are then made available for download, and audience participants have the opportunity to revisit the session as often as they want, from the comfort of their own desk or couch.

All in all, I have several hundred slides and graphics to pick from (and more are added every week), so I manage to never really deliver the same presentation twice, and with good reason: Every audience is unique. Every event has its own specific focus. And from a personal angle, I can’t stand to deliver rehearsed presentation “performances.” I am not an actor or a performance artist. I don’t use scripts. Every time I “take the stage” and engage an audience, whether it is a small team of executives or a thousand digital marketing professionals, I want to make sure that the experience will be fresh and genuine. Nothing is rehearsed. If I could improvise these presentations 100% and use white boards instead of slides, I would.

Perhaps more to the point, if I could turn every such event into an open-mic Q&A rather than a monologue, I would. It seems to me that with so many people in an audience, with so many potential questions and problems to solve, delivering a 40 minute lecture and only leaving 10-15 minutes for questions at the end might be somewhat counterproductive. Perhaps standing there for an hour and answering questions about everything from digital crisis management to breaking down agency revenue models for social media account services might be more valuable to an audience.

I tested this theory last year at #Ungeeked Milwaukee, where I closed my laptop, grabbed a microphone, and let the room engage me with both strategic and tactical questions. Sometimes, I knew the answer. Sometimes, someone in the audience knew the answer. We turned the session into a broader conversation that I think was more interesting (at least to me) than clicking through 40 slides about whatever.

It looks like I will get a chance to repeat the experience somewhat this Saturday, on the final day of #Ungeeked Chicago. Unlike the Milwaukee event, I will bring a few talking points to get the session started, but I look forward to sitting down with the audience and having a real conversation with them. If you are going to be anywhere near Chicago Friday 13 and Saturday 14, check out the event and try to attend. Better yet, get your boss to pay for it. 😉

click image to register

Oh, and I will be signing copies of #smROI while I am there, so bring yours. We’ll hang out and talk shop as long as you want.

Cheers,

Olivier

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And in case you haven’t picked one up yet (or your favorite client seems to be having trouble figuring out how to bring social media into their organization), you can pick up a fresh copy of Social Media ROI at fine book stores everywhere. If you have sworn off paper, you can also download it for iPad, Kindle, Nook or other e-formats at www.smroi.net.

(Click here for details, or to sample a free chapter.)

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I was fortunate to spend the better part of 36 hours in Coeur D’Alene, ID this week to talk to a roomful of very enthusiastic folks about Social media, and it got me thinking: With all that yapping some of us do onstage, more often than not, true dialog tends to get lost in shuffle. We talk and talk and talk, and then towards the end of our session, we leave 10 little minutes open for questions, and that’s it. Well, that isn’t enough. As much as I like to speak (and hear myself speak, if the length of my blog posts and presentations weren’t a clue), I much prefer the back and forth of Q&A even to my own incessant droning. Give me dialog. Give me conversation. Give me engagement. Not just on Twitter and the blogosphere, but with a real crowd, flesh and bone, pencils sharpened, phone cams at the ready. Give me a town-hall atmosphere over a lecture any day.

Which is why at the end of today’s 3 hour session on stage and 20 solid minutes of questions, I stuck around for another hour after the event ended to make sure that everyone who had a question for me got an answer. THAT, more than my time on stage, was the highlight of my evening. Why? Because I got to meet people, truly interact with them, get to know them better, solve specific problems for them (hopefully), and become part of their world. There were handshakes involved, pats on the back, stories of ski trips in Savoie and breaking world records and harrowing tales of survival (no, really). And then people started taking pictures for their blogs and facebook walls and whatnot, and that was a lot of fun too.

At 6pm, we were all strangers. At 9pm, everyone knew who I was, but the dynamic was still speaker/audience. At 10pm, I had connected with some wonderful human beings with fascinating stories to tell and made at least a dozen new friends. It was all good, but guess what: That time between 9pm and 10pm, that’s the part I got the most out of.

So speakers, ye of talent, skill and charmed lives, here’s the deal: Don’t limit yourselves to just “speaking.” Stick around. Get to know your audience. Chat with them. Listen to their stories. That’s where the real value of your speaking engagement is. Not the proverbial icing on the cake, as it were, but its warm gooey heart. The lectures, the presentations, the time on stage, eventually it will all blend into one big mess of jumbled memories of spotlights and silhouetted figures lined up in neat little rows, of people nodding and smiling and taking notes, and if you aren’t too awful at it, the wonderful sound of applause too. Always as sweet as it is brief. But the memories that will stick with you, the ones you’ll want to hold on to, the ones that will separate this event from that one will be those of the moments you spent hanging out with the fans. The ones who want their picture taken with you. The ones who want to show you their dog photos and their battle scars and the iphone case their grandson made for them. THAT’s the good stuff.

So someday, when you’ve made it big and you make obscene bank going from event to event on some conference circuit or another, when you feel that the speaking you do makes you some kind of rock star, remember that the fees you command, the VIP treatment you’ve gotten used to, the applause and accolades you enjoy, none of that stuff is owed to you. You’re just lucky to be there, just like you were lucky to be there when you were first asked to speak – for free – at a local business event by a friend who wanted to give you a break. Nobody in that crowd owes you a damn thing. But you, sir, m’am, you owe every single person in that crowd EVERYTHING. Remember that. Always.

So mingle. Shake hands. Hang out. Get to know as many of the people who come listen to you “speak” as you can. They’re the best people you’ll ever meet, and I don’t need an R.O.I. equation to know that.

Have a great Friday, everyone.

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Answering questions at #LikeMinds -Exter, Devon, UK

If you’ve missed seeing videos on the blog these past last few weeks, you’re in luck: I have some video for you today.

By now, you’ve probably seen the full version of the “intro to Social Media R.O.I.” deck I presented at SoFresh this summer, right? (If not, go check it out here.) You can also browse through most of the videos from my F.R.Y. and R.O.I. blog posts on www.smroi.net (which puts everything in one convenient place for you). And then there’s this recent piece by Mashable on the subject (which I highly recommend, by the way).

So what’s the latest? My presentation and ensuing panel discussion at the inaugural LikeMinds conference in Exeter, Devon, UK on October 16th.  We’ll be talking a lot more about Like Minds in the coming days (and weeks, and months) but for now, let’s focus on these two videos, which are essentially captures of the live feed provided during the conference. In these videos, the panel and I clarify what Social Media R.O.I. is and isn’t, and answer well crafted and at times difficult questions from the crowd.

Catch Part 1 here.

Catch Part 2 here. (That’s the one with the panel discussion. Very good stuff from the crowd and panelists.)

I also recommend that you take the time to watch Scott Gould’s intro, Trey Pennington’s keynote and Maz Nadjm’s presentation among other solid video content from #LikeMinds.

Cheers,

Olivier

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