Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Rules? What Rules?

Anyone who's attended a presentation techniques seminar will have been indoctrinated with pretty much the same set of edicts: Speak in a lower register, rehearse exactly what you're going to say, don't read off the screen, minimise farting and nose-picking and so on.

Well, in fairness, you wouldn't hear much of that stuff at one of my seminars*, but you know what I mean.

Today's post follows a seminar I attended yesterday by Calloway Green, and presented by Andy Calloway.  They're experts on search engine optimisation, and the seminar was a revelation, not least because Andy's either never seen the rule book or decided to use its absorbent qualities for personal use.  He turned his back on the audience and mumbled at the screen; he digressed, swore, lost his thread and wandered between his own presentation, somebody else's, a few strange Websites and the unpredictable scrawlings he effected on the whiteboard.  If he'd prepared his speech, he clearly changed his mind a few times.

Know what?  We loved every minute of it.  He had the audience completely enthralled.  For three hours.

I came away buzzing with ideas, not just about SEO, but about my whole Web strategy.  Was it despite Andy's bizarre style or because of it?  Without doubt, the richness of information and obvious expertise made the seminar useful, but it was the enthusiasm and humanity that carried the day.  We'd have listened to a three hour dissertation on Oxo cubes with just as much attention.

Beware presenters' rules; they make robots.  Your SatNav delivers great information, but you'd rather listen to Chris Moyles**.  Get enthusiastic, relax and have some fun and the audience will come with you.

Go to one of Andy's seminars and you'll see what I mean.

* Especially the farting and nose-picking, which I encourage.
** Thinking about it, this analogy isn't as clear cut as I intended. I rarely want to punch my SatNav in the face.


Andy Calloway said...

There are rules???!!!

I'd better not read 'em, might spoil the effect!

Jem Shaw said...

...or re-write em! Great performance yesterday Andy, loved it.

ci5agent45 said...

I had to think of your blog today as I had had to endure the most boooring presentation ever today from a tax accountant. Moreover they had distributed the same documentation that was shown on the screen anyway BEFORE the speech, which with an audience of about 50 people resulted in much rustling of paper every time he changed to another slide. There ought to be a law against such presentations, on the other hand I was rather grateful he at least left out the farting and nose-picking.