AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Speaking assignments and stagefright

From time to time, I am invited to speak at conferences - I wrote about this earlier. Now, yesterday was the first one, and next week is the next.

I like to speak at conferences. There is a thrill in it. Before my turn is up, there is this sitting at the podium. The MC announcing the different speakers for the particular session. Announcing the speaker, and the topic of the speech. Reading the speaker's biographical background - the speaker gets up to the stage, and thanks the MC for the announcement. Some thank the MC for all the glorious words - while most of the time (if not always, the biography has been written by the speaker).

There is this adrenaline rush before I go onto the stage. The stage fright that does not go away after all these years of assignments and is there, even if I present something to my colleagues, who are a friendly audience. The first few words and the strange sound that my voice makes. My own introduction, which trained as I learnt that this is my own way to get used to my voice. A little bit of a joke to enlighten the audience and to develop some bonding with the audience.

After a while things turn out normal and it is fun. I know my material, the slides just run down. I have many pictures - don't like too much text. There is this rule that there shouldn't be more than 3 bullets points and six words per line - that is what is said. I think it is better to have less words and a great picture. And talk to the visuals. This addresses those in the audience who like to have visuals and those that prefer audio.

I don't like those speakers who read from their slides - which is the most boring part. But it is tough, of course, because it is easier to read than to learn your material.

But the audience is most of the time there for two reasons. They are interested in the topic (if they haven't been forced to go by someone else, like their own company). So, most of the time, they are friendly. And they think that you have something to share. May be a new perspective, or something that they do know from before.

They most of the time don't realise that you are scared or nervous. It is called "your own space". Your own space, your own awareness. The speaker thinks that he or she is so nervous that everybody will see it - what makes things worse. They are okay with you. But they fall asleep, if the speech is boring, there are no jokes, no enlightenment, the speaker just reads.

So yeah, I enjoy it. Yesterday, I clearly talked to an audience who wanted to learn. That is okay. Next week, it is more complicated. I am speaking about customer experiences and the decline of traditional advertising. This despite the fact that a lot of people in the industry talk about the coming boom of advertising in Asia. But I believe there are different ways to reach your audience nowadays. I don't like direct mail, pop-ups or advertisements in TV. So I am presenting about companies that don't do this anymore. Challenge - the audience comprises of marketers. Will they like what they hear? I don't know, but it will sure be more challenging than yesterday.


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