Monthly Archives: June 2016

5 Signs You're a Pro Speaker

5 Signs You’re a Pro Speaker

When you’ve been in the business long enough, you learn to see the tell-tale signs of the best guest speakers. If you are a guest speaker, here are five signs that you are among the elite:

1. Needs Assessment
Great speakers don’t guess; they take the time in advance to ensure they know who they are talking to, why they have been invited, and what aspect of their topic is most relevant. The very best of the best have requested phone calls with three or four participants to get firsthand experience with the audience in advance.

2. Customization
Like canned spinach, a canned talk is unlikely to win friends. If you’ve given the talk so often you could “give it in your sleep,” you’re likely to give it in THEIR sleep! Great speakers take the time EACH TIME to find a fresh perspective on their material, making it relevant to the audience they are presenting to (point 1 and 2 obviously go hand in hand!).

3. Show up Early
The surest sign of a pro is they come early – in fact, so early they get time on the stage with the technicians before anyone else is awake! They walk the stage, do a sound check, ask to see what the lights will be like, practice with the clicker, make sure their videos or animations are playing correctly, and click through every slide in their deck to make sure everything is perfect.

4. Limited Slides
Slides have become so common we forget that we can listen to a great speaker for HOURS without them. (Can you imagine Winston Churchill with a clicker in one hand and laser pointer in the other?) A prepared, confident, engaging presenter is just as likely to see slides as a barrier as support. Five slides, six slides, maybe seven? See how few you can use in your next talk and see how the audience responds.

5. End on time (even when your time is cut!)
The ultimate sin for any presenter is to go over the scheduled time. Like being the last to leave after all the other guests have gone home, it’s just plain bad form. No matter how great your talk might have been, going over time puts you in danger of being remembered as “that guy/gal who went long” rather than the person with the interesting message.

Happy presenting!

Want to join this elite club?  Our presenter coaches are here to help, just give us a call!

Mad Max Moment

Implementing New Technology: The Mad Max Moment

A huge vehicle is driving across the desert at top speed. There are people on board, each doing their own thing. The drive across the desert is hot, fast, and dangerous. In the middle of this desert drive, the vehicle needs to be fixed. So the mechanic—brave soul—climbs under the speeding vehicle and up into the engine to fix it as multiple people do different things while driving at top speed across a bumpy desert. (Did I mention that other vehicles are in pursuit?) It’s an intense scene in Mad Max: Fury Road with clear stakes: the vehicle cannot stop but the engine must be fixed.

Implementing new technology while operating at full capacity is a lot like this. Our teams were knee-deep in their projects while their “vehicle”—their time, budget, and resource system—was being “fixed”—replaced. If that sounds incredibly stressful and a little unwise, that’s because it was. We took it on because we wanted to improve our project management and be able to offer our clients real-time snapshots of resourcing and budget. That’s an urgent need in our changing industry.

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Charles Spearin of Broken Social Scene from last year's Open Tuning Festival in Seaton Village, Toronto. PHOTO CREDIT: NEIL MUSCOTT

Audience in the Community: Open Tuning 2016

PHOTO CREDIT: NEIL MUSCOTT – Charles Spearin of Broken Social Scene from last year’s Open Tuning Festival. Fun fact: That’s Mark’s garage! 

We’ve been talking a lot around the office(s) lately, about what and how and why we do what we do. It’s the internal equivalent of the “State of the Union,” a thinking-out-loud about our relationships and services, about our challenges and successes. Times like these also tend to inspire a self-reflexivity that extends past the office.

Which got us thinking about an event our VP Creative, Mark Higgins, is involved with: a neighbourhood music festival in Toronto called Open Tuning. Its third incarnation takes place in Seaton Village this Saturday. But it really started in Paris.

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