What not to do at a conference

I spoke at a conference about customer experience the other week, and, like most conferences I go to, I heard a few brilliant thoughts that really got me thinking. But let’s not talk about those.

Let’s talk about the drivel that most people produce. If you’re presenting at one of these conferences, here are five things to think about to stop your audience sticking pins in their eyes by the mid-afternoon break.

1. Don’t write everything you’re going to say on your PowerPoint slides


Surely everyone knows this one by now. It’s in every presentation course.

What happens? I read your incredibly dense slide in 30 seconds. Then I stop listening for the next five minutes and check my email, while you say the same thing – only in even more words.

2. Say things that mean something


There really are lots of presenters who are fluent but say nothing of consequence:

Creativity empowers us to innovate for tomorrow and not just today.

What?!

3. Pretty charts don’t make something smart


There was one beautifully designed slide that said:

Knowledge = understanding what will happen
Intelligence = understanding what will happen next

The difference being...? The presenter read this out like it was a tremendous insight.

4. For the organisers: it’s not 1846


So why are we having a networking luncheon?

5. Repeating things doesn’t make you Obama


We all know a bit of judicious repetition can make your talk more memorable. But there’s a weird trend to repeat long, ugly sentences in the hope that they’ll become more profound:

Simplifying things is incredibly complex but absolutely necessary.
Simplifying things is incredibly complex but absolutely necessary.

Enough already. (Maybe time for a little holiday, Neil? – Editor)

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