Delivery from evil

I don’t pretend to be an expert presenter. I’ve been lucky enough to have the chance to speak across the world, but that doesn’t make me good. Fortunately I have friends like Laurie Ruettimann who take the time to feedback after they watch me speak and tell me how to be less of an arse (“Morrison, stop moving about so much”).

But having taken the stage and watched my fair share of presenters, there are a number of key crimes that I see coming up time and time again.

The overrun – When Dale Arden told Flash she loved him, “but we only have 14 hours to save the earth. She meant it. When Warhol said, “in the future everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes”, he wasn’t messing around. The thing is, whilst the content you have is probably worth twice the slot you’ve been given, that’s the slot you’ve been given and if you can’t tell your story in the allocated time, you’ve not prepared hard enough.

The sh*t slide – “Now I know this one isn’t easy to see”. So, pray tell, why did you include it in the pack? I can’t tell you how frustrating I find it when people drop in a slide that has so much detail that you can’t read a thing. It’s lazy, it’s probably taken from a work deck that was printed out as a handout. Essentially the speaker is telling you that they can’t be bothered. Which is nice.

The slow death – Nobody makes you get up and present. At least not once you leave school. So you’ve either volunteered or you’ve been paid. In which case put a bit of feeling in it. Nobody wants to make love to a corpse and your delivery has to show that. Give some energy, some swagger, some enjoyment and some passion. And if you can’t muster it, don’t get on stage. It’s as simple as that.

The off topic – “When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck”. The wise words of James Whitcomb Riley. And when I see a session called, “The connection between gastric bands and performance in HR” I expect the same. Don’t call your sessions something sexy and then deliver something akin to a nuzzling up with a cardigan wearing librarian. It just isn’t right.

The lone wolf – So you’ve spoken, you’ve done your thing. That’s the gig. What about the other speakers out there? The people that are also putting out for the collective appreciation. Especially if you’re on social media, go help a friend. That’s the least you can do. Doing your thing and heading off? Well it just makes you look like a bit of an attention seeking prat.

I know I missed some, but these are just my bugbears. And coming from guy who was rated “smug” by one attendee at his last conference, who am I to talk?

The speaker experience – #CIPD11 Day Two

I’m a lover of words, that is part of the reason that I write a blog and also a big part of the reason I work in the organisation that I do. But if I’m honest I prefer words in the written format rather than spoken. I do speak at conferences but whereas some people are dying to get on the stage, I tend to do it more with a mild sense of trepidation.

When the opportunity came to speak at the CIPD conference, I didn’t think twice.  Despite how it can come across sometimes, I’d like to do anything I can to support the profession and in turn our membership body.  But the time gap between being asked to speak and actually having to do it always makes the decision a lot easier!

This morning, I ran a session with Matthew Hanwell from Nokia, chaired by Gareth Jones who many will know from the ConnectingHR community, entitled “HR, Harnessing the Power of Social Media”. Matthew for those who don’t know is a regular speaker on the circuit as well as a top guy and uber knowledgable professional.

The session was slated for one and quarter hours in front of, I’m told a couple of hundred people.  Given the circumstances, the last thing you want to happen are any last-minute hassles, blunders, or admin cock ups.  You just want to have time and space and then to get up and deliver.  And this is where the CIPD came into their own.  I’ve been kicking around conference since Tuesday morning, but the moment I moved into speaker mode, I couldn’t have been better supported or welcomed by the CIPD staff.  The professionalism of everyone from the meeters and greeters, to the chaperones, to the AV guys.  Every thing was top class.

Now this may not seem a lot, but believe me in those circumstances it is exactly what you need.  Add to this the fact that I had some friendly faces up close and personal in the audience (thanks Rob Jones, Natalia Tomson, Mervyn Dinnen, Doug Shaw and Rob Moss) and it helped to ease the nerves nicely. The list of CIPD people is too long to mention, but from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU……you’re all stars.

If you want a summary of the session (and to see my ludicrous shirt) then I’d check out Doug Shaw’s excellent blog here.  Now, I’m looking forward to relaxing a bit, attending the CIPD “Tweet Up” this evening and practising a little of what I preach on social media. But if you’re ever asked to speak or support a CIPD event, then I’d grab the opportunity with both hands – they really know how to make these things work.

But enough of that, I’m thirsty…..whose round is it? Make mine a large one.