Professional speakers who are satisfied with the status quo will surely find their audience slipping away. Just like the car replaced the horse and buggy, dynamic, interactive presentations are replacing the talking head. Today, public speakers have to play a bigger game in order to give a Knockout Presentation. In a recent article entitled, Why Leaders Fail, the author cites the number one reason leaders fail and it's because they believe past success equals future success. There's a lesson here for public speakers and presenters. The article made me think about some of the public speakers I've heard. And just like in leadership, the rules of public speaking have changed. I've observed public speakers using an old time, one-size-fits-all presentation style. But what worked in the past, won't necessarily fly in today's market place.
Today's audiences are more sophisticated and demanding than ever before. The old, traditional method of the expert keynote speaker with the passive, listening audience, is an old model. Technology and social media have changed the game. Today, speakers engage their audience by using live polling for just-in-time responses, encouraging tweeting content, and interactive activities, even with large audiences.
Speakers have to look at their expertise differently and more creatively. It's not enough to be a standup keynote speaker. Today's savvy keynote speakers distribute their content through many media channels: podcasts, mp3 programs, white papers available on their websites, pre-program questionnaires or surveys, downloadable handouts, and youtube video clips. The focus has changed from "speaker-as-expert" to audience engagement and tapping into the expertise of the audience.
You can still take a horse and buggy ride, but it won't get you very far. If you want your presentation to have impact, you have to shift gears from giving a speech to taking a ride on the interactive highway and giving the audience an experience.