Overview of Executive Education Programs Course Descriptions Course Materials WORKSHOP ePatients: Healthcare Consumerism and the Internet FEATURED The Risks of Web 2.0
Articles, Blogs and Podcasts Pervasive.TV Overview Pervasive.TV Blog Thinking Clearly About Artificial Intelligence Howie Fenton on Prepress C.N. Anand on Rural India OnLine
Consulting Services On-Site Executive Education Public Conference Consulting IN3 Network Blog Ten Commandments for Conference Speakers
Public Conference Consulting Booking Jack Powers to Speak at Your Event Past Conference Links
VIDEO Friendly Intervention: Your Slovenly Email Technique SEMINAR Pervasive TV: Five Platforms for the Moving Image VIDEO Healthcare Insurrection: Medicine, Money, Expectations VIDEO Pocket IT: Turbocharged PDAs IN3 Video Channel on YouTube IN3 Video Podcasts on iTunes IN3 Video Channel on Brightcove
CTE Council Graphics Teachers Exchange Graphics Teachers Blog Graphic Communications Scholarship Foundation Virtual Enterprises International CUNY's CityTech Dept of Advertising Design and Graphic Arts NY Citywide Graphic Arts Competition
Company Overview PRESS Jack Powers Elected NYC CTE Council Chairman Jack Powers' Biography Curriculum Silicae About About Pervasive.TV Book Jack Powers to Speak at Your Event Office Hours E-Meeting
Get blog updates:

In the Age of the Individual, you have to be your own brand. by Tom Peters

The tech world is mad about its speakers. The good ones, that is. By Michelle Jeffers and Scott Lajoie


Tech journalism's new business: Charging big bucks for a never-ending calendar of conferences. By Janelle Brown




by Ron Hoff Nuggets
A tightly written guide to reaching your audience with and effective presentations. Highly recommended. -JP


DO NOT GO NAKED INTO YOUR NEXT PRESENTATION: Nifty, Little Nuggets to Quiet the Nerves and Please the Crowd by Ron Hoff"I Can See You Naked"
The companion to "I Can See You Naked" with more helpful anecdotes and speaker's tips.






Ten Commandments for
Conference Speakers

Speaking engagements at technology conferences can be very powerful venues for developing new ideas, discussing your perspectives, networking with peers and buffing up your resume. Success comes to those who focus on learning and who treat the audience with respect.

I. No Pitching

Conferences are for education -- and a little entertainment -- not promotion. The audience is paying with money and minutes to get your information, experience and perspectives. Don't cheat them by pitching your product, giving a commercial spiel, promoting your company or trashing your competition.

In the best conferences, if you pitch, you're out. Your audience will probably walk out on you, and they'll tell all their friends what a waste your session was.

II. Read the Brochure

Give the seminar that people came to see. Too many speakers spew canned material that doesn't fit the context. The brochure is your contract with the audience; it's your responsibility to deliver.

III. Be On Time

It's most important to start on time, but plan your presentation so that every important point gets the appropriate stagetime before you end -- on time. Don't spend the first 45 minutes on intro fluff and then cram all the important ideas into the last 15.

IV. Be Readable

Make sure your slides and handouts are legible to everyone. You know you've lost when you have to say: "I know you can't read this slide, but there's some very important information here."

V. Keep the Energy Up

Shout, move around, gesticulate: do what you have to do to keep the energy in the room up. If you're funny, tell some jokes. If you're angry, yell. If you're sleepy, mumbling, or not very interested, stay home.

VI. Build A Story

Interesting seminars are a series of problems and solutions, ups and downs that keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Hold some things back for effect. Beginners often tip their hand early and are stuck with repeating their key points over and over to fill the hour.

VII. Be Clear and Avoid Tech Clichés

Don't assume everybody knows what you know. If you give an acronym, immediately follow-up with the definition. If you mention a person, give a title and affiliation. Keep the inside jokes and smirking sub references to a minimum, and keep away from hoary canards like "Content [or community, commerce, context, etc] is king," "It's all about communication" and any variation on "If you build it, they will come."

VIII. Get Out of the Room

Conference rooms are ugly places, and great speakers project the audience's attention into the outside world with anecdotes, slides, photos and videos that make the ideas and stories more tangible than their gray institutional surroundings.

IX. Dress Nice

Make the experience special: Always dress better than your audience, have your shoes shined, your hair cut and your best foot forward. Show that you care about being on stage and making the day memorable.

X. Follow-Up

Leave behind a paper handout or -- better yet -- a Web page link so that people can contact you afterward. Make the link live so that there's a reason for people to click back again. A successful presentation is only the beginning of your relationship with the audience.\\

Since its publication in 1999, this list has been picked up by many business educators: Michael Hough's book The Profitable Trade Show, web sites like and TechnoSkills, and educators like the Association of Business Media.

Subscribe to updates via RSS or email:

JPowers.IN3.ORG Blog
Media, technology, business and society
via RSS or