Monday, December 16, 2013

Is keynote speaking heading for the elephants' graveyard? #mpi #eventprofs

Is the traditional keynoter an endangered species? While in Vancouver at the Global Speakers Summit, I spoke to a number of bureau heads and bookers about what they are looking for in speakers. There was considerable agreement on three trends:


 


1) Length of speeches. Everyone I spoke to said that the format of 15-20 minutes speaking, followed by 45 minutes Q&A was increasing in popularity. Some said that's all they look for. They want speakers who can engage an audience with their depth of knowledge and expertise, not with a prepared delivery.

2) Level of engagement. Everyone, yes, everyone, wants speakers to engage with the audience before, during and after the event. They want webinars, tweetchats, social media engagement, Google hangouts - all part of the deal. Just turning up on the day, speaking and leaving won't cut it any more.

3) Interaction.  Forget the "turn off your phones" stuff. We need to be interacting with our audiences during our speeches, using apps like Pigeonhole Live, Poll Everywhere and the Twitter back-channel.

I've already incorporated these trends into what I offer, and I will keep watching the market to see how to keep adapting. My view is that if the traditional keynote is all you offer, you'd better check the route to the elephant graveyard. What say you?


Image Credit: Creative Commons Licence

4 comments:

Barbara Saul said...

Useful post, thanks Alan. Would it be useful to have someone on-hand to direct you to questions placed virtually too, do you think?

Ivor Tymchak said...

I too have noticed a trend for shorter presentations, probably inspired by TED talks and Pecha Kucha.

At our Bettakultcha event each speaker gets five minutes and we encourage the audience to tweet during the event. I can see corporate events hiring three or four speakers and asking them to do ten or fifteen minutes each. This will probably mean that fees will reduce.

Personally, I have NEVER seen a successful Q&A session and I wonder why organisations persist with such a hopeless vehicle. Any Q&A should be conducted via Twitter etc so people can engage if they want to.

Jerry Gitchel said...

I agree Alan, it's the TED effect and what I call Breaking the Fourth Wall. It's when you figuratively knock down one wall of the meeting room and invite attendees peeps and tweeps to join the meeting. A few years ago I had only two attendees at the last table. During an exercise I suggested they add their network to our discussion. The answers arrived from Nome, Memphis and Portland.

Jerry Gitchel said...

I agree Alan, it's the TED effect and what I call Breaking the Fourth Wall. It's when you figuratively knock down one wall of the meeting room and invite attendees peeps and tweeps to join the meeting. A few years ago I had only two attendees at the last table. During an exercise I suggested they add their network to our discussion. The answers arrived from Nome, Memphis and Portland.