A wise person recently shared with me what the four types of conference speakers. It really resonated with me as I attend a lot of conferences and see so many examples of each one. Here are my thoughts about each type.
- Industry trend crystal gazers: These speakers are typically keynote speakers. They take a broad look at the industry and illustrate the trends they see with slides full of pretty images. They leave the audience feeling excited and regenerated, but there is often little for the audience to bring home and act on.
- Business development and product/services sales. Sometimes, I wonder if these speakers don’t realize they are actually presenting a sales pitch. Or, perhaps they think the audience doesn’t realize it is a sales pitch. Either way, these speakers can be very frustrating for the audience who has come to learn and be inspired not bring out a cheque book. They are most likely to generate less than positive tweets.
- Boring brand managers. Audiences love to hear from brand managers. Even though they aren’t nearly as innovative as they’d like to think, we are desperate to learn what they want, what they need, how they’re trying to change their business. Let’s be honest, when brand managers speak, the vendor audience is taking notes on every flick of the hair hoping that something they learn will give them the edge in their next sales pitch.
- Content gurus. This is the group I aspire to be in. These speakers are all about content – teaching, coercing, convincing. These speakers give you knowledge that you can take home and put into action immediately. The speaker may not be fabulously entertaining and the presentation style may not be sexy or beautiful, but when you get home, you’ll know exactly how to do better research and get better results. This is where furious note taking among audience members takes place.
Which type do you fall into?