How Do I Work?


I have a new keynote coming up on May 25th at the Central Michigan Public Relations Society of America that I am extremely excited to be a part of. So I was excited on Sunday when I got a text from a friend saying "I am coming May 25th" followed by "your keynote is going to be new right?" What he was actually asking was, "I'm not wasting my time, right?" Because he had watched me speak in February at the Governor's Conference on Tourism.

I have a couple of hard and fast rules when it comes to public speaking, especially if it is created by my own hand instead of hosting an event where a script is used that might answer that question.

1) No notes. If I am doing my own keynote (not a script) I am not reading notes because people have shown up to hear what I have to say, so I better know what I want to say to them.

2) Update, update, update. I am continually updating with new information as it comes in. If I know who is in the crowd I will check out their social feeds, websites, blogs, etc. so that I can create a talk that is tailored to the people that are in the audience.

3) Close to zero. There is nothing I like less than presenters who read slides to the audience. I tend to go as far to the other extreme as I can creating a deck that has next to no text on it. There are certain pieces of information that need text for context or a better understanding - but that is very different from reading to the audience.

4) Q+A. If it were up to me I would do them without a deck and just have Q+A for 90 minutes but experience tells me that this is a difficult thing to do without at least a couple of slides for context. That said, I love the improv feel of fielding questions that I might not have the answer to.

5) It is NOT about me. It is easy to think when people show up they are there to see you, but more honestly they are there to get something they can use today.

Which means if you want to do more than one keynote you have to give them something they find value in.

This becomes really difficult in the marketing space because you have to create a talk that shoots the gap between the beginner and the expert. They will both assuredly be in attendance and both are looking for something to take back with them. That has everything to do with them and not much at all to do with you.

So, will I waste your time? The slides are new, the information will be an hour or two old, and the questions will be all new - you will have to show up on May 25th to get the answer to that question.