Monday, April 21, 2008

Does a bi-modal distribution mean my I'm lousy at presenting?

The feedback is in on my April keynote presentation, and it's not good. My supposed-to-be innovative presentation with origami, game choices, voting paddles, internet links and group activities was loved by some but hated by more. I had a sinking feeling the presentation had belly-flopped (maybe it was the way folks ran from the room) but I wasn't sure until the data came in today. 20% Excellent, 20% Good 20% OK and 20% Poor. And lots of comments to back up those ratings. Yikes!

The nicest remarks received were, "it looks like you did a lot of preparation" and "you'd be fun at a party". Everyone has an off day, so was it necessary for one participant to remark about my "grating voice" or claim "I would rather have a gun to my head". There goes any aspiration I may have had as a keynote, comic or motivational speaker. At least the photographer captured a nice shot at dinner.

So what did I learn? Keep it simple, limit humor, use more photos, fewer links and yes, it's hard to engage 180 listeners in an interactive session when you're as distractable as I am. I think I should stick with the smaller groups, fewer slides, more photos and conversation thank you. With intimate groups at least I can see the white of their eyes before they roll back into their head.

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