Six Ways to Ruin Your Next Conference

… or how to deliver a successful presentation

David and I have had the pleasure of attending literally hundreds and hundreds of conferences by working together over the last decade and it always amazes me how some conference organizers and keynote speakers have great ideas but their messages are lost through neglecting very simple procedures.  Having come from a background of art where it is common place to practise, practise and practice until you drop these points seem to come naturally to me but I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you today on the most common ways to ruin a conference.

1 – Don’t bother to rehearse your speakers, especially senior executives many who whom believe that somehow “everything will be alright on the night!” They seldom can and it rarely is!
2 – Use overly complex slides. Remember KISS – Keep it simple and straight forward to avoid death by PowerPoint
3 – Overrun. Speakers who refuse to stick to their allocated time slots can throw everything into disarray. This is often caused by a failure to follow the advice in 1. above or by a CEO who sees the conference as one big ego trip.
4 – Encourage lengthy presentations. Remember the 20 minute rule.  This doesn’t mean no speech can last longer but does mean the speaker needs to introduce something attention grabbing every 20 minutes into the presentation.
5 – Penny pinch on production values. Insist on poorly lit platforms which, literally, leave speakers in the dark; buget PA systems so those at the back must strain to hear and cut price catering all of which is guaranteed to add to your audience’s frustration and boredom.
6 – Have the finance director discuss budgets after lunch when attention is at its lowest ebb.  Opening with something light, entertaining and easily assimilated could run the risk of ensuring your audience actually enjoy the conference!

If you are a conference organiser you can ask yourself these few basic questions before your next one:

What is the aim and purpose of this conference? Start your answer with “We are holding this conference because….”   You’ll find “because” a most useful word for focusing minds on the key issues.
Why are we talking to this particular audience? “Because….”
What message(s) do we want to communicate and why? “Because…”
How can we ensure our take away message is fully understood and acted upon?

Keelan Leyser and Dr David Lewis have worked together as UK business speakers and international corporate speakers at literally hundreds of conferences worldwide. They are booked for their innovative presentations that encompass their groundbreaking research into psychological business topics, including that of Impulse Buying and Getting your Message Across.