How many conferences have you been in your career? How many tradeshows and vendor presentations? With that many of these, we may think that every trick of the trade, every tip, every “best approach” has been thoroughly researched and reapplied.
I have my share of conferences, demos and presentations. I rarely get surprised, so I reflected on what was something that was impressive, and rarely seen.
Here it is: I’ve seen something outstanding, that make the speaker stand out in a huge way; however I’ve seen in two conferences only.
What I have seen working very well, and very few people are doing, is engaging your audience in YES/ NO questions via a very simple technique. On each chair the speaker leaves before the presentation two pieces of paper – a red one, and a green one. They sell these at any Staples; most likely you will find them at the Conference copy center, if you don’t want to carry them through airplanes.
On your slides, about every 6-8 minutes, make sure you interject a simple, two choice question – THIS or THAT. Have you implemented or not. Is this your road or not. You’ll find the opportunities. Make sure you say “this choice is RED” and “this choice is GREEN”. On the slide, not at the beginning of the deck. Someone who missed the beginning of the presentation, or someone that just checked their e-mail can still participate.
From the audience perspective, they will see a sea of answers – red or green. They will notice their neighbors’ colors – makes for a great conversation starter (Make sure you read my entry on Three steps for an engaging conference presentation, and a star speaking engagement).
Pause, and give to the whole audience your best estimate of the mix. Remember, you are the one bringing the boon of knowledge.
If you see something interesting (a 90-10) proportion, ask why to the 10%. Give it time – if you run through these voting, the third time you’ll ask, you’ll notice that fewer papers will go up.
Try it in your next presentation.
Now, that is my little know secret. What is YOURS?
If other little secrets for great presentations, post a comment on the blog.