On Saturday night I went to the Paul McCartney concert at Citifield, the new Shea Stadium. The doors opened at 5:30. The time on the ticket was 6:30. The warm up act didn't play until 7:30. Warm up act? Hardly. There was a 45 minute intermission before Paul came on stage. Even thought the group from Dublin was good,the energy fizzled and was sublimated into fries, hotdogs and beer. The lesson? There was no flow to this event. The reason was obvious. All that down time is planned so that people will buy food.
And yes, Paul was amazing and the crowd rocked. But overall, I wasn't impressed by the event planning at Citifield. There was no build up. The energy waxed and waned. I was bored waiting for the main event.
Presenters need to understand the importance of staging. A presentation,like a concert is a performance. Just like a rock concert is not a ballgame, not all presentations should be staged in the same way. Speakers need to think strategically about their purpose, the outcome, the mood, the tempo, and the energy of the event. The person who introduces the speaker is a type of warm up act. Do they create excitement and anticipation or do they speak dispassionately?
If there's too much time between networking and the main event, the audience gets restless. If you're Paul McCartney you can transcend poor staging. But for most of us, when it comes to presentation performance, it's all about energy and flow.