Pubcon Las Vegas 2017 was an amazing week of learning, networking, and hanging out with new and old friends. One of those friends, Kevin Doory, was super nervous, but excited to present at his first Pubcon—and he knocked it out of the park, even when his session room did everything it could to derail him.
Why was Kevin’s presentation a huge success despite this obstacle? Because Kevin became the presenter that people remembered. Find Kevin’s deck here, and keep reading to learn how to do what Kevin did—and be the presenter that people remember.
- Accept that anything can go wrong. Like any presenter, Kevin didn’t want things to go wrong—but they did. In his case, the projector stopped working several times, the microphone went dead, and eventually, Kevin had to continue the presentation without the comfort of his slides. Kevin had two choices: He could either slam down the mic and be done with it (I wouldn’t have judged him if he did, it was THAT bad.) or he could power through it. Luckily, he decided to power through it, and gained many fans in the audience. They saw what he could deal with and the kind of person he was—and I believe they paid more attention to the presentation because of it. The proof was in the social; Kevin’s online interaction and presence were through the roof. I was only bummed not to see the end of his presentation, as he told me I was in a slide!
- Attitude is everything. Life isn’t always rainbows and unicorns, and things won’t always go your way. In moments of adversity, how do you handle yourself? When you’re presenting, there may be people in the crowd looking to hire you. But if they see you jump ship after a few problems, they might lose faith and think you’ll do the same with them. You can’t control anything around you, but you can control your attitude. But don’t just have a positive attitude—BE the positive attitude. This is what made Kevin’s presentation special. Behind his eyes was a level of frustration that would make a normal human pop their lid. But Kevin just rolled with it; he owned it and he did the best he could. In the midst of it all, his attitude game was ON POINT.
- Know the material. I can’t help but think—if Kevin had thrown the slide deck together at the last minute, would he have done so well? Considering he ended up abandoning his digital presentation altogether, I’d say no. This is a good reminder to really know your material—because you may be asked to present without any digital aids. Over the years, I’ve learned that YOU are the focus of the presentation, not the slides. People come to hear what you have to say; they don’t want to depend only on your slides—and neither should you. Of course, slide decks are important, but they’re not the reason people come to Pubcon.
- Coordinate with other presenters. Though Kevin was without his slide deck, he wasn’t completely alone. Kevin coordinated with another talented presenter named Jesse to ensure none of their information was duplicated. In short, they were prepared. I was in plenty of sessions where the presenters seemed to have no idea what other topics were being presented at the conference. The worst is when a presenter says something like, “I’m not going to cover this point because so-and-so already covered it.” What if I wanted YOUR perspective? Your unique point of view may resonate with audiences more than any other presenter’s.
- Last-minute preparation. Don’t ever get up there and say something like, “Well, I’m glad I got these slides done right before I had to present to you all.” As a Pubcon speaker, I think we MUST do better than this. People pay to see these presentations. A thrown-together-last-minute slide deck tells your audience that you don’t care about the session enough to give it any real thought. Put some time and effort into your slides ahead of time and follow the rules of the conference—or don’t accept the speaking gig. Yes, I have been guilty of this in the past, but I’ve strived to continue improving with each presentation.
- Stay within your time limit. We’ve all sat in on presentations where the speaker goes over their set time limit. Not only will this throw off the next speaker, but it’ll also cause your audience to lose focus. Prepare to use your time wisely so you aren’t eating up other presenters’ time. In the same vein, your presentation shouldn’t be too short, either. This makes it difficult on other presenters (and moderators) who have to figure out how to fill the rest of your session. Have some respect for the people who are learning from you—and the presenters who have to follow you.
Again, here’s a HUGE hat tip to Kevin for pulling off one of the most amazing presentations (given the circumstances) that I have ever seen. If you want to learn how to overcome the fear of public speaking—and be the presenter that people remember—just find Kevin and ask him a few questions.
- My presentation on influencer marketing
- Pubcon photos by Michael Dorausch
- Photos by Paul Fach and myself
- More Pubcon photos
Update #1 Oh hey look, here is the slide I was referring to above: