Public Speaking Tips from Brett

Brett Tabke is the excellent owner and “last stop” moderator of WebmasterWorld, the largest forum in the world dealing with Search Strategies and SEO. “PubCon” is the WMW conference and is held annually in Las Vegas and at other cities during the year.

The PubCon blog has Brett’s excellent article that is suggesting detailed tips on Public Speaking and preparing a good presentation.

Unfortunately for all of us even good advice goes largely unheeded by speakers for reasons I’ve never understood. Part of the problem is that self-confident, smart folks often are poorly prepared, thinking they can “wing it” because they’ve seen other self-confident smart folks *look like* they wing presentations when in fact really good talks are usually canned and focused more on entertainment than education. I often want to gag when I hear people rave about an entertaining talk as if they learned something, only to 1) note that the talk probably was not really about anything of much substance and 2) watch the raver’s future behaviors change NOT A WIT.

I’ve given several travel technology presentations and I’ve sat through *a lot* of conference presentations over the past ten years or so and it’s pretty clear to me that speakers are more born than made, and they are entertainers not educators. Real learning can be fun but it takes brain work most conference folks simply don’t want to do. This is why the unconference is so effective.  I noted that my “popular” talks tended to deal very simply with complex topics and not go very deep, which just confused people.  Also I’d throw in fun or intriguing items to keep people interested.  Unfortunately this made it tough to really “dig in” and talk about the intricacies of the topic.

For every Guy Kawasaki there are a hundred regular folks and another hundred lousy speakers. Guy is a superb speaker with – I think – a lot of canned presentations that “feel” spontaneous. He injects some anecdotes to shake it up a little, but the one time I heard him talk it was just too polished to be “real”, and I was told after that somebody had seen the same talk before – I think more than once!

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