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How to Get Awesome Audience Reviews

What makes a successful presentation?

These are some of the key attributes that SCUP attendees tell us make a good session:

  • Your session content matches what’s promised in your conference abstract and learning outcomes. (Here’s a good way to check—do each of your learning outcomes get the same amount of session time?)
  • There was walk-away knowledge that participants could apply in their own work settings.
  • The session was interactive, and included at least 10 minutes for questions and answers.
  • Your slides had more images than text, and any text was visible from the back of the room.
  • The session was well-paced, and if there were multiple presenters, each presenter had adequate time to present their information.

A couple of insights from Elliott Masie about how he engaged an audience during a keynote:

  • Connecting in 120 Seconds: You only have two minutes to make a connection with a large and distributed audience. I adjusted my comments and got them to do some audience hand raising and laughing in the first 120 seconds. And, I framed up why I felt I was there with a few outcomes for the 45 minutes.
  • Get Them Engaged: Several times during the speech, I had them turn to a neighbor and talk about an issue or question. The first one was in the opening five minutes, when I had them tell a neighbor how they ideally like to learn themselves. The room buzzed, the energy shifted to the audience and I then got rapid answers from the back and middle of the theater. I looked at Skipper and the XO and asked them for their answers which were: “Through Experience” and “From Peers and Experts”. This set the tone that my keynote was not a pure download—it also curated some content from the audience and brought the Skipper’s words into the segment as well.