Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Robotic Keynote Session – How to Put Your Audience to Sleep!

Have you ever attended a Conference Keynote Session, and watched a speaker read their entire presentation from their laptop computer?  Needless to say, it is not an energetic, or engaging experience! I’m thinking there must be some truth to the idea that, before God invented Tylenol PM, there was the “Robotic” Keynote Presentation.  :)

Earlier this week, as I’ve mentioned in a couple of blog articles, I attended the MPI “Meet Different” Conference, as a virtual participant.  Each day the program was kicked off with a keynote session.  On Day Three (Tuesday) MPI attendees were “introduced” to the intellectual thoughts of author Marty Neumeier, best known for his “whiteboard” books entitled “The Brand Gap,” “Zag” and “The Designful Company.”

Marty Neumeier

Mr. Neumeier has a reputation for being a “maverick thinker,” an innovator, and a brand strategist.   According to Peachpit, a website for publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people, his mission is to “incite business revolution by unleashing the power of design thinking.”

Without a doubt, Marty is a very intelligent, knowledgeable guy, with laser insight into the pulse of innovation.  Unfortunately, his stage presence, and delivery as a public speaker leaves much to be desired.

For the first 35-40 minutes of his presentation, at MPI, Marty maintained direct eye contact with his laptop computer while speaking to the MPI audience.  It was a painful experience, for virtual attendees, and about fifteen minutes into the presentation he lost me.  I went AWOL (Attending Without Officially Listening)

Thankfully, Glenn Thayer, Superstar Emcee for the MPI Event, woke us all up by snatching Marty away from that podium, and laptop, shifting to a more engaging environment…  two bar stools on the stage.  The transformation was instantaneous, and magical.  Here’s why:

  • Changing Marty’s focus from the laptop, and the podium, to the audience had a “right-sizing” effect.  Immediately there was a connection!
  • Marty’s energy level skyrocketed, as Glenn’s engaging interview style converted the conversation, from lecture style to conversational.
  • Without the distraction of a computer, and relying purely on his instincts, Marty now addressed questions and comments (from both Glenn and the audience) naturally.
  • There was a positive change in Mr. Neumeier’s facial expressions, and listening to him speak, there was a noticeable difference in the emotion/passion behind his comments.  Allowed to speak purely from his heart his words were both interesting and sincere.

Marty Neumeier & Glenn Thayer on Stage (Thanks Cameron Toth)

In my opinion, Marty Neumeier is a talented author, and an intellectual thinker, but public speaking is not his strong point.  Fortunately for MPI, they hired a “champion” Emcee, who instantaneously understood what needed to be done to turn this situation around.

Question:  What are your thoughts regarding this situation?  What do you think could have been done better?  I look forward to your perspectives!

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Lara McCulloch-Carter February 27, 2010 at 9:09 am

Gasp, sputter, cough! Being a brand strategist, I’ve always been a fan of Marty Neumeier but I’ve never seen him speak. I’m very surprised that as an agent of intelligent branding, Marty didn’t get the simple equation that it doesn’t matter how amazing your content is, if you don’t capture and engage your audience they’ll move on (i.e. great content + bad presentation = goodbye audience). Kudos to Glenn Thayer for changing the dynamics of the presentation to get the best from the presenter.

On a another note (related to one of your previous posts), I didn’t see any of MPIs live-streamed presentations. I’m very surprised that MPI wouldn’t have partnered with influential bloggers (like yourself), providing free registration in exchange for all of the great ‘idea spreading’ you’re doing. It’s because of people like you that I’m aware of MPI’s Meet Different conference (I’m sure I’m not alone).

Keep up the good work.



Michael M McCurry CMP February 27, 2010 at 9:30 am

@Lara McCulloch-Carter,

You know, Marty is clearly a very intelligent guy and I was frankly shocked at the way he carried himself on stage. It was awful, to say the least.

Once Glenn Thayer reeled him in and started a dialogue, the session was terrific. Sadly, that was for only the last fifteen minutes or so. I enjoyed that piece of the event very much.

Regarding MPI overall,you raised a point that I have been thinking about. I (along with others) are really becoming an extension of their journalistic reach, as we are collectively giving MPI a lot of publicity with our articles.

They really ought to have a “press pass” or “blogger corps” pass to acknowledge the work writers do on their behalf.

We shall see… thanks for the contributions to the conversation Lara!




Mitchell Beer February 27, 2010 at 10:24 am

Mike, I’m going to respectfully disagree with your assessment.

I was in the audience for Marty’s talk, and found it tremendously engaging and useful. He wasn’t the slickest, most polished speaker MPI has ever put in front of an audience, but he had *substance* — substance that many of the name personalities have lacked in years past. I didn’t find Marty’s style distracting…maybe because I was following his simple but evocative graphics and thinking about their application to my business and my industry volunteer work.

Now, here’s a point to ponder. I was attending live, not virtually, so I don’t know what the Virtual Access Pass gave you. Did you have access to the graphics as well as the talk, or was the virtual feed limited to a camera focused on the speaker? If the offsite audience got the visuals we saw on the screens in the room, you received the same graphics we did. If you spent the 45 minutes watching Marty watching his laptop screen…the content was still as good, which goes back to my point about substance over style, but you missed some great visuals.

If that’s the case, it’s not a criticism of Marty, or of the Virtual Access Pass. It means the technology team behind the VAP should have focused more on the content and purpose of the session, rather than setting up a high-def videocam and considering the job done.


Michael M McCurry CMP February 27, 2010 at 10:56 am

@Mitchell Beer,

Mitch, thanks for your comments and all perspectives are welcome here, of course!

As a virtual attendee we did not receive any access to slide presentations or any other media presented in the sessions so the only visual stimulation we received was the camera on the speaker.

I have to disagree with you that listening to him speak was enough for it to be a robust experience, as it clearly was not. Regardless of content, when there is no eye contact (even if it would have been thru a camera) or any visual acknowledgment of the audience, to me that is a failure in a presentation.

I know I am not the only virtual attendee in that session that feels this way. You should read the blog post written by Vanessa LaClair, as she was a virtual attendee along side me. That url is

On the upside I am glad to hear that you, as a face2face attendee found Mr. Neumeier’s presentation engaging and useful. I just wish that we virtual participants had been as lucky.

Unfortunately a copy of his slides is not available in the VAP archive, as I would have loved to see them.

Mitchell thanks for your contribution to the discussion… it is much appreciated.




Cameron Toth February 27, 2010 at 10:24 am


You are hard to keep up with. You keep creating excellent blog content that is current and fresh and I am still struggling to write articles about Event Camp!

Regarding Marty’s presentation. He had excellent slides and that helped me stay a little more into it but there is no denying that a few yards from the stage in the Twitterati seating that energy was simply not a main focus in Marty’s presentation.

We had just seen Jeremy Gutsche from Trend Hunter deliver an excellent and energetic keynote in that same room two days before. The day before we had a presentation that I unfortunately walked out of due to boredom. Marty managed to keep my attention but he needed a lot of coaching. He needed to not be behind the lectern.

He needed a clicker and he needed rehearsal with someone who knows how to present and teach others like Sue Hershkowitz-Coore, CSP (

Very glad to have you reporting on these events because it definitely added to my experience.

Have a great day!


Michael M McCurry CMP February 27, 2010 at 1:20 pm

@Cameron Toth,

OMG, I have not even brought up Day Two of MPI, that is a whole new conversation. 😀

I am sure that being able to see Marty’s slides made a big difference in his presentation because that is where all of his focus was for the first forty minutes.

You are correct that he needs speaker coaching, and also perhaps should attend an event as a virtual attendee to understand the experience. Also, in fairness to him, synching the slides with the webcast would have been a real asset.

As I said in the article thank god that Glenn Thayer was able to shift the direction of the discussion to a more engaging format. I really did enjoy those last 15 minutes or so when they were conversing.

Thanks as always Cameron, for contributing to the conversation.




Mitchell Beer February 27, 2010 at 1:37 pm

@Michael M McCurry CMP, Mike and Cameron, I have mixed feelings on this issue.

Any serious speaker wants to reach the widest, most diverse audience possible — so if honing their presentation skills will help them get their message out, it’s in their pragmatic interest (and everyone else’s) for them to follow your advice.

Still, I think we need to decide whether a conference keynote is information or entertainment — or if it’s both, in what proportions. It’s one thing to point to the lack of PowerPoints on the virtual stream as a major gap. But I can’t see that anyone in the face-to-face session had the same complaint. We were grown-ups, attending a grown-up conference to discuss grown-up industry issues. Whether or not the speaker stepped out from behind the podium was far less important than the quality and applicability of his ideas.


Michael M McCurry CMP February 27, 2010 at 2:07 pm

@Mitchell Beer,

Once again, thanks for airing your thoughts… its great to see so much interest and conversation around this topic.

Mitchell, with all due respect I think you are missing the point here. The virtual attendee experience, in general, is vastly different than the face2face counterpart. In particular, as a virtual participant, we have no access whatsoever to the chemistry, and the energy occurring in the meeting room itself.

With regard to this specific event, I can not speak to what occurred inside that meeting room, but I, along with others can clearly speak for what occurred in the virtual stream. For forty minutes we watched Marty Neumeier stare at his computer screen, without looking up, while speaking to the audience. No other interaction took place that we, as virtual participants could connect with.

The sensation was as though he was having a conversation with his computer. That, my friend, is not engaging at all. That is not what I would expect in my “Virtual Access Pass” experience at a professional conference. Not even close….

The Powerpoint presentation is probably the only thing that could have created some connection to this presentation, from a virtual perspective, and we had no access to them.

As far as I know, all of us in virtual land are grown-ups as well … Theresa Davis can help us determine that for sure? We attended #MD10 to participate in a session with interaction and yes, discussion of grown-up industry issues.

Until Glenn Thayer hit the stage there was no discussion, there was no interaction. There was only a video of a man talking to his computer.

Ideas and information, when delivered with eye contact and at least an air of interest in audience reaction, go a lot further, in my minds eye. But thats my opinion.

You are entitled to yours and I do thank you for sharing it with us. It has certainly enriched the conversation.




Cameron Toth February 27, 2010 at 2:16 pm

@Mitchell Beer,


It was great to meet you at Meet Different 2010. When learning is the goal we have to consider how people learn when judging a presentation. Did it engage people from beginning to end? Was it appropriate to audience size which becomes extremely important when talking about a keynote to 900+ people? I know from talking to people that Jeremy’s opening keynote was a fantastic choice and almost across the board was top rated by all attendees. Monday’s session was boring. Great information but who could manage to stay awake and engaged to soak it all in? Tuesday’s session was a good powerpoint presentation with some great dialogue towards the end.

The rub is especially for a “keynote” what you are looking for is an all around learning experience. Traci Browne’s comment was that when it is all entertainment that she would probably not want that experience as opposed to learning something. My argument or quibble with that is that if the presentation doesn’t keep my attention than I am not really learning anyway. My time is valuable and if I have to sit through an hour of presentation for 10 minutes are less of truly valuable info than just give me the 10 minutes and let me get on with my life!

I am no expert on keynote selection and I love Theresa’s comments on being open to feedback and ability to make adjustments because that is what Marty’s presentation was essentially about. Make something quality and different and don’t be afraid to try something new.

Once money is involved attendees expect more from a major session. It is our jobs as meeting planners to make sure those corporate, public, non-profit, etc. events prove that we know how to educate people and inspire networking and risk taking. That is what empowers new business and what will make our business stronger year after year. If we do not dedicate ourselves to powerful self sustaining presentations that deliver we might as well close the shop up now.

Great conversation and please know that I am very thankful to MPI for the wonderful experience in Cancun. I learned something in every session that I was in and am a better meeting planner and business owner because of Meet Different 2010!


Mitchell Beer February 27, 2010 at 3:14 pm

@Michael M McCurry CMP, Mike, my comments were strictly directed at the face-to-face experience, not the virtual. There’s no question that the virtual audience was poorly served by having no access to Marty’s slides (and/or to a more engaging presentation style).

Mike and Cameron, I agree that the best presentation combines substance *and* style, and that the ideal keynote is the all around learning experience Cameron describes. I don’t want to be inflammatory here — didn’t want to be with my last post, either. But wrt the face-to-face with slides available, I do believe that when an audience tunes out a strong, substantive presentation, strictly because of the style in which it’s delivered, *both* the speaker and the audience miss an opportunity.

I’m certainly not trying to put all the onus on the audience — quite the contrary. But I’ve covered hundreds of technical or scientific presentations over the years where the speaker wasn’t going to learn a new delivery style, but the message still made it worthwhile to stay with it and keep listening. That doesn’t apply to every speaker and topic, but I’m still glad I didn’t tune out Marty’s talk.


Theresa February 27, 2010 at 11:38 am

As a member of MPI and as their manager of strategic communciation I do so appreciate this conversation. As for the choice of speaker I can say that MPI did feel emphatically about focusing on substance over flash. To that end, it was mildly comforting during that during the presentation that many of us virtual attendees (myself included) continued to comment on twitter that the content was great but…

We’re absolutely open to feedback and are making adjustments for future live events coverage based on comments received and some of the points made here. We’ll sync the presenations with the speakers so VAP participants will also see what onsite participants do.

I’ve also been evaluating the criteria for industry bloggers and micro-bloggers to receive designation at events and in the future, for virtual elements.


Michael M McCurry CMP February 27, 2010 at 12:01 pm


You really are awesome! Thanks for being so open-minded and accessible to participate in these discussions. It really is refreshing to meet an Association manager that is willing to interact so transparently.

As I think you know, we are doing our best, in the Events business blogging community to serve our industry associations by sharing open and honest constructive feedback with them.

A decision to sync presentations with future webcasts is a critical step in improving the quality of those media events, so kudos to MPI for embracing that methodology.

Regarding your comment that you are evaluating criteria for industry bloggers to receive designation at future events I would love to have a live conversation with you about that sometime.

Thanks again for contributing to this discussion.. your comments and perspectives are so very much appreciated.




Traci Browne February 27, 2010 at 11:39 am

Mike, I’m glad you brought this topic up. I was not at the conference nor did I watch it online so I cannot speak on the specifics of the event. But I can speak on many many years of experience either contracting speakers or enduring them.

I’ve seen presenters with great speaking skills and deliver but zero content. I’ve also seen speakers with great content but no presenting skills. I have to say in the end I prefer the latter. At least I’m learning something instead of strictly being entertained.

It’s tough for a conference organizer to find someone who has content and can also present but they are out there. Some of the responsibility must lie on the speaker. With inexpensive video cameras out there there is no reason why speakers do not have video available to showcase their abilities. When I’m looking for a speaker I don’t care if they send a high quality video of a presentation…anything will do. I just want to see them in action…an occasional pan to the audience would be helpful too to see their reactions.

Also, maybe it’s just me but I’m not particularly thrilled with being talked at for an hour or more. I’d much prefer talking with.


Michael M McCurry CMP February 27, 2010 at 12:08 pm

@Traci Browne,

Its interesting, because the upsurge of web 2.0 and online communication channels is raising the expectations of event attendees higher and higher every day.

I think, in the past conference attendees were more forgiving of presenters (and the event organizers) because there were fewer places to get their education. Now, there are so many alternatives, and at a lower price point, that organizations, like MPI, PCMA and ASAE are gonna have to raise their game with speakers, and event design, or they are going to start losing attendees and members.

The speakers and presenters that hate social media tools like Twitter, do so because they realize they can’t hide behind their presentations anymore. If they are not sharp and engaging audiences are gonna call them out. That is the simple truth.

Like you, I prefer interaction over being talked (or lectured) to. Maybe it is just the A.D.D. factor in me :)

Thanks for contributing to the conversation as it was greatly appreciated!




Dave Lutz February 27, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Interesting post and dialogue. Eli Gorin posted on MeCo that Neumeier’s keynote was a “miss” as well. Eli attended live, so there are others with similar reactions to yours Mike.

For some of our Industry events, keynoters are sponsored by speakers bureaus. I wonder if Neumeier is in that category or if MPI recruited him on their own. Sometimes the sponsoring speaker bureau can err on putting up a high dollar person that does a poor job customizing their message to the audience and industry.

One thing that should definitely happen after speakers of this caliber is to have a session where attendees can discuss the content and how it applies to their job. We need more of that deep discussion to solidify learning from someone as smart as this guy.

Last but not least, if you are going to charge for VAP, you need to make sure that the speakers are engaging with that audience too.


Michael M McCurry CMP February 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm

@Dave Lutz,

From what I understand MPI acquired Mr. Neumeier through their own resources and the decision to hire him, was based principally on his books and reputation as an intellectual thinker.

I will not disagree with you that he is a highly intelligent guy. That came through clearly in his presentation. The finest moments came when he and Glenn Thayer were on stage together for the last 15 minutes or so. That segment was very engaging.

I like the idea where you have a session to follow the keynote, where attendees can dive deeper into the topic with the speaker in a more intimate environment.

Your comment about the VAP is absolutely true… if you are going to charge a premium price for your virtual content then you better make sure the content is high quality, and yes, engaging to the virtual audience.

Thanks for your contributions to the discussion!




Emilie Barta February 27, 2010 at 4:15 pm

First a disclaimer…I was not at Meet Different, nor was I able to attend virtually so I can not comment on the speaker or his presentation. However, ANYONE who gets on a stage in front of an audience has the responsibility to ENGAGE their audience, and it does not sound like he did this at all. On top of that, he had 2 audiences to engage! If a speaker does not engage their audience(s), their message will not be retained, no matter how good it is.

In my opinion, there are 4 types of speakers:
1. Good content, bad presentation
2. Bad content, good presentation
3. Bad content, bad presentation
4. Good content, good presentation

The choice is obvious to me which type of speaker is the most successful…good content and good presentation! Therefore the person(s) who are tasked to select (and compensate) a speaker must do their research to ensure that they are booking an engaging individual who will provide good content to their audience. Because, after all, it all boils down to knowing your audience and giving them what they want!


Michael M McCurry CMP February 27, 2010 at 4:23 pm

@Emilie Barta,

Wow, Emilie you drilled this down into very simple and understandable terms.

To all our colleagues watching this string of comments, Emilie has summarized it into a matrix we can all relate to..

You decide which type of speaker presentation you want for your organizations.. I know where my vote goes :)

Thanks Emilie for contributing to this discussion.




Pat Ahaesy February 27, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Mike, i wasn’t there nor was I able to watch the Keynote virtually.
This “robotic” presentation should never have happened. The person from MPI selecting speakers and the folks putting together the production of the keynote should have carefully checked out the speaker’s presentation style before they selected him. If they found he didn’t have good stage presence and felt strongly that his wisdom outweighed that, then they should have arranged for a different style of presentation. The whole presentation should have been as it was for the last 10 minutes that you discuss. A conversational keynote can be very engaging and bring the best out of a brilliant person who has a lackluster presentation style.

An aside about speakers for virtual meetings. They can only choose #4 in Emile Barta’s post. They must be the best.

As you know, providing a session virtually is not necessarily a piece of cake. The PowerPoint definitely should have been synced with the speech for virtual attendees. You know that it can be done. Production elements must be of the best quality to provide a good experience for the virtual attendee.


Michael M McCurry CMP February 27, 2010 at 9:58 pm

@Pat Ahaesy,

You bring up an excellent point Pat.. we talk about understanding our customers, but it probably makes some sense that we ought to understand the people we engage to do work for us as well.

When you are writing a check for a big name speaker does it make sense to sample the product before you submit payment. Of course it does. Like any other business transaction you need to understand the value of the experience you will get before you reward the person providing it.

As Emilie Barta pointed out in her comments the only acceptable choice in a “keynote” speaker is someone that is “good content, good presentation.” Anything less than that is doing a dis-service to your organization.

Thanks for contributing to this discussion, it is much appreciated.




Sue Hershkowitz-Coore February 28, 2010 at 10:38 am

Thanks so much, Cameron, for the HUGE compliment. I missed this presentation at Meet Different because I was speaking for another Cancun client. But I heard plenty when I returned to Moon Palace! I’ve seen speakers who clutch the lectern in a death grip but are so passionate about their topic – and even more so, about ensuring listeners connect to the topic – that their lack of polish becomes invisible. For me, it’s not just about being a content expert, it’s about authentically caring more about the audience’s comfort and connection than anything else. And, yes, if anyone knows that speaker, please let him know I’m happy to offer any help I can.
Thanks again!
All the best –


Traci Browne February 28, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Sorry Mike, I have to chime in again…

There are two key things to remember here. First is that Mike is pointing out the virtual attendee experience. I am all for experimenting. Go for it, but don’t charge me a high fee to be part of your experiment. Charge the fee only when you’ve tested and have a complete experience ready to go…not something you just tacked on.

Second, we are talking about a keynote…not an educational session. Different skill sets are needed for different circumstances. A keynote MUST be engaging and entertaining as well as educational. I expect a keynote session speaker to be a generalist but they must be able to specifically address the needs of the audience. They generally get paid a good fee and they are there to engage the audience and yes even entertain them.

An educational session is a completely different thing. I’m a science nerd and attend a lot of science and medical conferences. Some speakers have a great ability to engage the audience and be entertaining while delivering a very narrow educational session. Some presenters are terrible speakers but their content is amazing and that’s more than OK with me. I wish they could be both but I’ll take content over just entertainment any day when it comes to this type of presentation. I’m completely ok with separating the valuable content from presentation style when need be.

But keynotes…I’m sorry, you have an obligation as a meeting planner to vet these people. Disappointingly many organizations do not. Motivational speakers are quite popular but to me they are a waste of my time to attend. The only motivation I need is to look at my mortgage bill every month. And just because some person wrote a best seller doesn’t mean you should jump at the opportunity should they deem your organization worthy of their time at $30,000 speaking fee. Vet, vet, vet these people!


Glenn Thayer February 28, 2010 at 2:41 pm


Attendees did have the opportunity to get together with the MeetDifferent keynotes at the “Ask the Expert” session immediately following the general session. This allowed in depth questions with the presenters that was specific to the attendees’ careers. The people that attended those sessions with the presenters came away with a lot of value. They were able to tap into the great level of expertise in an interactive small audience format.



Michael M McCurry CMP February 28, 2010 at 3:21 pm

@Glenn Thayer,

Unfortunately, those “ask the experts” sessions were not available to VAP attendees. That would have been a great way to take more value away from the experience for sure.

Maybe that is something MPI will decide to do next time!



Eli Gorin March 1, 2010 at 9:50 am

I figured I would chime in as well! :-)

Just as Dave mentioned, I did feel that Marty Neumeier’s presentation was a miss. Not because of the content, but because of the delivery. I left after he posted a slide as part of his presentation which was a picture of what i think was this scenic waterfall and the word “PAUSE” on the bottom corner. This was his cue to “pause for a drink of water”. Everyone at my table was in shock and hoping it was a joke. Apparently it wasn’t. I actually decided that from now on, in my presentations, I am going to put in a PAUSE slide. It definitely got people talking and made it memorable.

Unfortunately, I really didn’t hear anyone that came out of that room say anything good. In fact, it was interesting just watching people’s faces and reactions as they left. Yes, he is a great innovator and great thinker, but delivering great content on paper and in person are two completely different things. Glenn Thayer is a fantastic emcee and did a great job not just trying to maintain the flow of this OGS but the others as well and keeping the conversation going throughout MeetDifferent.

From what I have come to understand, the structure of the Opening General Sessions was to somewhat mimic or be in the style of the TED conference. Unfortunately, while a great idea, it’s important to either (1) explain to the audience the reasoning or what they can expect, and (2) determine if a TED-style conference is really in the best interest of the audience.

What I do love about the knowledge team at MPI is that they are very receptive to opinions of people and they do take comments into great consideration. They are great to work with (i had 5 programs this time around at MD). I already voiced my concerns about the OGS’ and they definitely appreciate the feedback.

On a personal note, and shameless plug, for those that do have the Virtual Access Pass (free to MPI members), two of my sessions (Meeting Management in Latin America and Overcoming Destination Misperception) were both videotaped live for VAP. :-)



Michael M McCurry CMP March 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm

@Eli Gorin,

It is a great addition to the conversation to hear the perspectives of those attending this General Session face2face. I love your comments about the “Pause” slide…. too funny!

I was also very impressed with the customer service and engagement of the MPI “knowledge” customer service team. They have taken a very courageous approach to this relatively new concept called Hybrid events.

I do have a VAP, as you know and will check out your sessions when I have some free time, hopefully soon.

Thanks for contributing to the conversation, Eli,




Betsy Bair March 1, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Since Mitchell wrote a commentary about this for our Web site,, I decided to read Mike’s blog. I was present at the session and have two things to add:
1. Many of the onsite attendees couldn’t see the slides either. If you sat toward the front of the room, there was no way to see the visuals (note to meeting planners). I found this out on day one and sat further back on days two and three.
2. Glenn did engage the speaker, but I’m sure that was part of the plan all along. To let the speaker do his canned speech, and then open up to Q&A. That was the deal on day one, too (although the trendsetter guy was entirely engaging, I got the sense he did not want to depart from his canned speech, either). I agree that watching someone read from his powerpoint is never a good idea. And I found the woman from Microsoft on day two to be interesting if not terribly engaging. Remember that MPI’s core audience of meeting managers is made up of women. And she spoke to the females in the audience about how to get ahead—and stay ahead—in business.


Michael M McCurry CMP March 1, 2010 at 4:48 pm

@Betsy Bair,

Interesting comment you made about not being able to see the slides. That is Meeting planning 101 in my book. I hope someone called that out in evaluations. :(

Regarding Glenn Thayer, I get what you are saying, that it was planned, but I gotta believe no one knew just how bad the “canned” portion of that presentation would be. Glenn immediately brought life back to the session, speaking from a virtual perspective.

Thanks, Betsy for contributing to the conversation, your comments are greatly appreciated.




asfd October 13, 2010 at 8:37 pm

oleplaying! That’s how I enjoy every minute logged in wow powerleveling to the World of Warcraft. At the ending of a typical work day, when it’s time to relax the mind and spirit, the very last thing I want to do is fire up a computer GAME and WORK. Notice the oxymoron there?


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