At a recent event with three speakers, it was good to see how all three of them tried to avoid standing behind the lectern so that they could better connect with their audience. Trying to do so provided them with new challenges, though.
According to an article that was shared a lot recently, yet another CEO decided to ban the use of PowerPoint in his company. He's not the first CEO to have that idea and he won't be the last. But, as in all the other cases, what he does is only fighting symptoms, not causes. In other words: He's blaming the tool for being used incorrectly.
I recently attended an event, an evening consisting of a series of short talks. Afterwards, it occurred to me that what I've seen could have been representative of the future of presentations, i.e. the average talk we're going to see in the future. And I have to say, the outlook isn't pretty.
On paper, the programme read a bit like a TEDx event: 12 short talks on a range of topics like innovation, management, motivation, health, etc. Content-wise, what we did get, however, were effectively 11 variations of a "you can do it!" talk plus one mildly entertaining one about sex.
Quite a few conferences are using Twitter walls these days, i.e. a screen that shows tweets related to the event in real time. They help attendees see what's going on, in the talks but also around the event as such.
Twitter walls that are visible to the audience during a talk are a real challenge for the speaker, though. It means that any comments that are being tweeted are immediately visible to all the other attendees. So that remark which - in the times before Twitter - you would quietly make to the person next to you suddenly gets a much broader audience. This applies to praise as well as to criticism. Even more so to criticism, actually.
At a conference I attended recently, I noticed quite a few speakers that didn't seem to have put a lot of thought into the end of their presentation. Yet when you come to the end, your audience will start paying more attention again; this is something you should make use of to ensure that they remember your message better.