For all that know me, I am a very Social guy, and those who don’t,,,trust me I like to talk. LOL In the past few years I have focused all that raw energy into Social Media, SharePoint, and Collaboration, not always in that order. I have to say one of my favorite, yet scary things is public speaking.
I just love going in front of dozens, hundreds, or thousands and talking passionately about something..anything. One of the hardest topics to discuss is Technology, why because Power Points are boring, and people want to see it in action. So I am going to take a few moments to talk about Tips for YOU to give tech talks. Specifically SharePoint, but this also goes to Social or Tech in general, just abstract my ramblings.
First Tip: The most important thing to keep in mind when giving a talk at say a Conference is…ready…..YOU ARE THE EXPERT!
I know that many of you do not feel strong about your subject, but seriously folks came to sit and listen to you. So this is a social contract. You are there to educate, to enlighten as an expert on the topic. You might not feel it, but you are. So make it worth while for them to come and listen. This means know your subject, make sure you can answer questions about it. If you don’t feel you are giving them the best information ever….why are you doing it?
Second Tip: Be Prepared!
I have been to so many conferences, or events where the speaker sounds lost, the materials are not ready, and the seriously the guy or gal was way, way, way out of their league.
This goes into two categories, first is equipment, second is topic.
Equipment: Have you deck ready, have a backup of your virtual drive, have extra batteries for your presenter mouse, have backups of your hardware.
Topic: If you are having to read the slide or off cards you have in your hand…you are not ready. If you cannot discuss OFF topic points about your subject, you are killing me…..if folks in the audience have to answer your questions…you are not ready.
Third Tip: Look the Part!
Dress to impress is a true statement. I will use the example of the expert coming to a conference to talk wearing jeans and t-shirt…..come on, I would not hire him that way, so why would I expect him to be the big wise OZ of a subject. Now I am not saying wear a Tux, but dress to the level of the audience. I am a fan of a rule. I wear what the best dressed looks like….in other words I am a Consultant, people expect me in Chinos and a Company Polo as a minimum, but a Suit for discussions with executives. “Dress to the audience”, all else fails dress like the guy or gal you want to be.
Fourth Tip: Make it Fun, but Informative!
Now everyone loves PowerPoint, or some other method to provide detailed graphical representations of data, but seriously….ever heard of “Death by PowerPoint”?
I myself have found that PowerPoint can be one of my greatest tools, but I like to be more creative with the slides. Animations, Backgrounds, embedded videos and audio…..but do not go goofy. There is a fine line between entertaining and annoying. Now I like to include a lot of research and data that folks may consider value adds.
I also like to throw in audience interaction. Now this is a delicate option, as you can target a critic of your talk or subject, or a person just in a bad mood. Be careful. I like to ask one person prior to the event….IS IT OK IF I CALL ON YOU? Yes do not ambush.
Lastly is demo’s, do not make your presentation to heavy with data you forget to show the talk in action. This does go both ways. Do not go all demo, then it can feel just like….Hey Watch Me Do This!
Fifth Tip: Do Not Preach!
I am an absolute believer that what I say is gospel. Yes I know no wrong….LOL….Right if you believe I never make a mistake, I have an island in the pacific you can buy. Now honestly many speakers get preachy when talking, talking more TO YOU…this can get very annoying feeling like I am being talked down to or given a lesson in what I don’t know.
Two easy ways to either preface a rant, or preach is saying to audience…..”I am going onto my Soapbox on this subject”, or even “Let me preach about this for a second”. They usually give me one of these 2 minute rants per speaking engagement.
The other challenge is if you are getting all high and mighty, and you are WRONG….ouch. So if you are going to go into a rant about a topic, get it right. Nothing like killing your credibility be being wrong, and a pain in the $%#….
I like to say, go see others speak….not motivational speakers…haha. Pick other peers in your industry or area and go check out what they do. I like to say, if I see a superstar do it, then so can I. Now go sign up for a speaking slot and ROCK IT! Let me know, I will come see.