Archive for the ‘Speech’ Category


Don’t Suck. How to Successfully Moderate a Conference Panel

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This post has now become recommended reading for moderators at Ad:Tech 2008, SXSW (see FAQ #10), and more. This post is reprint from a few years ago, but is just as relevant, as the industry prepares for another busy conference season.

Most Panels Suck: How To Stand out from Others
Sadly, the value of most panels are really poor, and this is mostly due to the lack of moderation. Yesterday, I heard that one nervous moderator asked the panelists to introduce themselves (which was his job), then went directly to Q&A, providing little structured value to the audience. On the complete opposite end, I’ve seen one self-important moderator answer questions from the crowd, when it was his job to field questions to the panelists.

How to Successfully Moderate a Conference Panel:


Objectives and Ideology

 

Think of the audience as your customers
Treat the audience like your customers, they’ve paid with money and time to come to your panel. Your job is to give them the information they need, or to entertain them, and often both. You’ve one of the most difficult jobs as you’ll have to set the pace, maintain some control, but know when to back off. Remember that you’re here to serve the audience first and panelists second.

Picking the right panel members
Often, a moderator is asked to select the panel, this isn’t always the case, but more than likely you will be involved in the approval process. Find folks that are experts in the field and have varying points of view. I find that 3-4 panelists is ideal, any less becomes difficult to flesh out all the viewpoints , and anymore becomes unwieldy. One time, I was 1 of 5 panelists, and I think I spoke a total of 5 minutes, a real waste of time.

Find out what success looks like
Look at the context of the conference, what is it about? who is attending? what are the other panels? Ask the conference organizers what success would look like, what questions does the audience want answered and what is their level of sophistication?


Preparation

 

Get to know the panelists
This is often difficult as many panels never meet in advance, but in our social world many folks are online and can be found. Do Google searches on their name and the topic at hand, and you may be surprised what you find online.

Research the topic
The most entertaining panels have a dash of debate, look at an issue from many angles, practical steps to get started, and tell a few jokes. Find where the points of contention are and be sure to bring it up, this is how you’ll bill the panel. Use a blog post, Twitter or other feedback tool to glean questions from the community.

Properly market the panel
Successful panels will often have a title that is catchy, in tune for the conference, and has a detailed summary of what the audience will get out of it. You should blog about the upcoming panel, and the panelists should too.

Develop agenda bulletpoints
I try to establish some general high level bullets, 3-5 is good, so it helps the panelists to prepare and research. Don’t get into overly detailed questions, you never want them to be overly rehereased. I always have some secondary questions if no one asks questions, and it’s best to throw some curve balls to panelists after they warm up.

Have prepared notes
Print out the research you did of their bios, points of contention, the high level agenda, and follow up questions you may want to do. I’m known for requiring the panelists to bring a case study or example with measurable results.

Before you use powerpoints, really think it through
In most cases, panels should focus on the discussion and interaction between the panelists. Presentations should only be used in these situations: They add value by visualizing a conceptual concept, you’ve some industry stats that preface the event, or there’s a funny video that gets the crowd warmed up. Have a mental checklist: Is this going to add value? Does this give each panelist an equal response? Is this truly necessary?

Have a pre-briefing meeting
It’s really hard to get panelists to all get on the phone together, I can only think of a few times when this has worked. Instead, have a quick meeting in person before the panel actually happens, it will only take 15 minutes. This is good bonding time, be sure to remind them of the general structure, but make sure they’re relaxed and going to have fun. Listen carefully to the conversation, as you’ll pick up interest points that will help you setup questions while on stage.

Housekeeping
Prepare all your notes, laptops, make sure everyone has water before you get on stage, in some cases, plan out where folks will sit. Remind the panelists, yourself, and the audience to turn off cell phones. Smile a lot, and have fun…ok, now we get on stage.


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On Stage

 

Be a leader and know the impact of body language
I’ve studied this a few times, when I moderate, the body language I give off will be echoed by the panelists. If I sit up straight, or if you fidget, they will follow, the same happens when you speak. Look at the panelist when you ask a question, then look at the audience (they will follow suit), If you look at the panelists after you’ve asked a question, they will instinctively look back at you, an odd site to the audience. Unless responding to another panelists, the panelist should be addressing the audience so keep your attention on the customer.

Set the stage by providing context
As the first speaker the moderator should set the stage by quickly give an overview of why this panel was accepted, and what you’re going to cover. I tend to avoid the usual banter about ‘how this panel is going to be great’ or make length introductions about panelists, that usual pretty-talk is often low value. Next, give a brief introduction about the panelists –but save the lengthy bios for the pamphlet or website — folks know how to read. (submitted by Dave Pelland)

The first question should be a warm up
You should tee-up the crowd, and the panelists by asking a broad, easy question. Ask for a definition, or talk about the history of the topic, or why this topic is so interesting to the panelists.

Ask about benefits and opportunities
Some moderators let them conversation dive into the weeds too fast, focusing on ratty details, nuts and bolts before prefacing ‘why’ these things are important in the first place. Guide the panelists to discuss the benefits, and why these things are great in the first place.

Ask about risks, challenge the panel
The audience is tired of industry zealots. We all know the panelists are passionate experts in their field, but you need to ensure a balanced viewpoint is given. Give an example of how it’s not worked, and then ask the panelists to explore the risks. Give them the opportunity to talk about overcoming pitfalls, your audience won’t want to make the same mistakes.

Monitor the back channel
Monitor the “backchannel” which are conversations in IRC, Meebo, or Twitter about your panel. After the very disruptive revolt at SXSW 2008, moderators and speakers need to pay attention to how the audience (customers) are responding to what’s happening on stage. As Web 2.0 expo, I scanned twitter via my mobile device in real time and made live changes. (added March 2008)


When to Assert Control

 

Never let panelists pitch
This one really irritates the audience, as they’ve spent time and money investing in a panel, they don’t want to hear vendor pitches. Typically, when one vendor talks about how great his company is, the next panelists will need to one-up, and it never ends. The moderator needs to pre-warn panelists that won’t tolerate this vile deed, and will cut them off in public, and that’s embarrassing for everyone. BTW: If you’re in the audience and you see this happen, you have a right as a customer to demand them to stop, if not, vote with your feet and complain to the organizers, or ask a pro-rated payment of your wasted time.

…but let them tell a case study
I prefer that panelists demonstrate their expertise by showing their experts in the field, or provide a case study how their customers have been successful. There is a very thin division between this and a vendor pitch, so it’s best to remember that a panel is more like a white paper, not a brochure.

Keep on track
Panels will often get off-track to new discussions, while that’s certainly normal, your job is to gently bring it back into context. You’ll have to re frame a question or ask for further explanation on the topic.

Redirect panel hogs
Although rare, some panelists will overstep themselves and overpower the other panelists. It’s your duty to find an appropriate time (watch for when they breathe) and interject in a nice way. Compliment their opinion, and be sure to pass a question to the deserving panelist. (Insights from a concall with Warren Pickett of Ad:Tech)


Interaction gives life to a panel

 

Listen in
Watch the body language of the panelists, the one who wants to get a word in will be giving you non-verbal indicators, the audience will give off vibes of attention, boredom, or even disagreement. You’ll find little disagreements between panelists, be sure to pick up on those to segue to the next panelists, ask them for a contradictory point of view. This can be difficult.

Let the panelists talk to each other
Don’t over structure your panel by leading into a moderator question and response pattern alone, allow for some healthy banter between the panelists, and let them chatter, jab, and joke among each other.

Know when to pass the mic
Don’t let any particular panelists dominate the session over others, you can interject between their breaths and quickly pose the same question to the other panelists. I realize this seems rude, but this is your job, you represent the audiences time

Know when to shut up
I’ve been a panelist many times, and have certainly been annoyed when some moderators go too far, they may try to make it more of a game show, insert too much humor, or answer the questions from the audience. Don’t be that guy. Success happens when good conversation starts to take place on it’s own, and you only need to gently guide.

Field questions from the audience
Always repeat the question from the audience, so everyone can hear and it’ll get on any recordings. Summarize long winded questions from the audience. Don’t let an over active commentator steal the show by asking too many questions, suggest that some discussion can be followed-up after the event. If there are no mics in the audience, you may need to walk down and bring the mic to them. Ensure that the questions are spread from different folks, and only let a single person ask a second question once everyone has had a chance.

Two Rules for Q&A: State your name, and make sure the question is a question
Questions are key to drive interaction, but before you take questions, let the audience know these two rules:  1) Get context from those that are asking questions on their name and company, this way the panelists can respond to first name to those who are asking, and have greater understanding. 2) Require that questions actually be questions.  We’ve all experienced the self-promoting pitch or the lengthy diatribe from an passionate audience member, so make sure the focus is still on the experts on stage.  The rest of the audience will appreciate it.


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Wrapping things up, Successfully

 

Ending the panel
Finally, at the end, let the members talk about where they can be found online, or where others can learn more about them. It’s best if you start, in order to set an example. “I work at company X in Y role, I can be found online at Z”. Thank the panel and audience, then prepare for the audience to come up to the stage and have 1:1 discussions.

Encourage the discussion to move online
Often the conversation between the panelists and members was so engaging that the never want to stop discussing it. Create a wiki, forum, or Facebook group to continue the conversation. Also assign tags at the session so that anyone who is blogging about it will be found. If you’re a blogger you may want to write up a wrap-up and link to anyone who took pictures. Thanks to Zena in the comments for this suggestion.

Final touches
Later, send a thank you email to all the panelists, keep in touch with them, and always cherish how well this has gone for you. Congratulations! you’ve just moderated a successful panel!


I hope you’ve enjoyed this how to guide, I’m often hired as a keynote speaker for business events, but have spent my fair share of time, also moderating panels.

This is just my perspective, be sure to read what others have written on this topic:

If this post helped you moderate a panel, or you’ve further suggestions, please leave a comment.

(images from: pexels, unplash, and again on unsplash)

2015 Is the Year of the Crowd (Slides & Video)

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In the embedded presentation above, I assert that 2015 Is the Year of the Crowd, and make the point in a few ways:

  • The growth in nearly every sector of society with the expanded Collaborative Economy (healthcare, logistics, municipal, corporate and more), see Honeycomb 2,
  • Massive funding in this space, which has overtook funding to popular social networks, see spreadsheet,
  • How the disruptive incumbents are pushing back –legitimizing the movement, see disruption deck,
  • How brands are moving into this space, their adoption is clipping upward, see timeline of brands,
  • How Crowd Companies, a council for large brands that we founded, which has experienced over 100% growth, see Crowd Companies.

Below is the predictions slide, which calls out an area for discussion across the whole movement. In particular, read Lisa Gansky’s piece on Fast Company on how the startups should start sharing the value with the people that are making them popular. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what the future spells for the Collaborative Economy in this coming year.


FIVE 2015 PREDICTIONS:
Ten Minute Video:
This presentation was from the LewEb keynote in Paris on Dec 9, 2014 (picture of audience), you can watch the live video, to get the full context of the slides, below:

Keynote Slides: How Crowds and Companies both Share

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The above embedded presentation is my keynote at the 500 attendee SHARE conference today, I’m also on the conference board of advisors. This San Francisco conference has over 450 attendees spanning the sharing economy startup space, government, investment, and corporate to understand how these new collaborative economy models impact all areas of society. I’m pleased to present after industry pioneer Lisa Gansky who’ll set the stage for the industry. My focus? To explain how this collaborative economy is not limited to peer to peer only –but how corporations can and are playing a role.

Why focus on corporations? There’s at least three reasons: 1) If we can influence just 1% of their business model towards this new economy, it has global impacts to millions of people and long lasting impacts to resources 2) Corporations often build the very things that we’re sharing, and they must understand the new behaviors in this market, so they can address these new needs. 3) Lastly, when corporations nod towards utility of resources via sharing, it signals this behavior type starts to become more mainstream. While there are a number of other reasons, I’ll close my preso on five final takeaways:

Five Final Takeways (slide 31)

  1. The core of the sharing economy is always about people.
  2. Yet to make it sustain, we must engage governments, regulators, and corporations.
  3. Corporations who want to succeed will build shareable products, designed to last.
  4. Corporations will enable marketplaces of used goods and services.
  5. Crowd and Companies will work together for new business models for share

In this presentation I shared data from the collaborative economy timeline, a frequency of brand deploymentpeople adoption is going to double, the full report on behaviors, and the recently launched collaborative honeycomb. On a closing note, Deloitte University published a point of view on this growing collaborative economy, and noted that brands have a role. Companies are learning how to share with the community, to find new business models where both parties are going to benefit.

 

Keynote Slides: The Collaborative Economy provides Opportunities for Corporations

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What role do corporations play if customers don’t need them?  What if the people who used to be their customers get their goods and services from each other?  I’d love to answer that at your next event.

That’s exactly the question that our research answers after analyzing 200 of the startups, and interviewing three dozen experts (you can read the full report, right here).  Customers are using social media tools, called “sharing websites,” to share products, services, and even money – bypassing the corporate world.  What’s the solution?  We found a counterintuitive opportunity for today’s innovative companies, that, we believe, they must use to enable their own business functions, business models, and products to be social and, therefore, able to compete in one of the most significant cultural market changes in history.


The above embedded slide deck is from the Vocus marketing and communications conference in DC last week, it’s designed for a 45 minute session.

About the Content
The speech uses the story of Danish King Frederick VII, whom I learned about on last month’s trip to Copenhagen.  I was intrigued by his unique dilemma as he saw a revolution coming to his gates, giving him one of two choices:  1) Fight them and, potentially, lose his head, or 2) collaborate with them. We weave in and out of his experience throughout the presentation, as we cover key steps in the presentation: a definition of the trend, real world examples from many verticals B2B and B2C, numbers showing the disruption in terms of dollars, and the causes of this sharing movement.  In the meat of the presentation, we focus on the solution, which we call the Collaborative Economy Value Chain, and provide real world examples of what corporations are doing now.  To top things off, we’re honest about the many challenges, but we also explain the benefits for companies that are willing to join the collaborative economy.

The appendix has additional data from our research, a glossary, and interviewee citations.

About the Presentation
Many of the slides have animations, which can’t be fully experienced in this SlideShare mode.  You may download the full PowerPoint presentation to see the animations.  The presentation is open research and, as part of creative commons, may be used with attribution.  I’d like to thank the Altimeter research team and designers, as well as RexiMedia for their excellent coaching and visual production.  As a former musician, I’ve learned to take preparation seriously, so I choose to work with the best teams during preparation and rehearsals to ensure that I give my audience the best experience possible.

Upcoming Speaking Events and Samples
I’m getting the word out about the Collaborative Economy.  I have presented elements of this subject in Copenhagen, London, the District of Columbia, and San Francisco, in addition to individual clients on private calls. I would be delighted to speak at your event.

I’d be pleased to share with your business teams how the evolving Collaborative Economy is moving from sharing of ideas to sharing of goods and services. I am happy to do so either by using the free webinars listed above or appearing live at your conference or private event.

Resources: Converged Media, Integrating your Paid, Owned, and Earned

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The Convergence of Paid, Owned & Earned Media

Is Facebook paid, owned or earned? The answer is yes.

Facebook is all. They integrate advertising units along with content created by brands on their Facebook pages, and allow for consumers to share their opinions right in the comments. Sometimes, ads look like social content, and it’s hard to distinguish the difference. At Altimeter, we see this convergence only increasing, and these Venn diagrams will continue to have overlapping circles of paid, owned, and earned.

To meet this converging media types, Altimeter kicked off a research project with Rebecca Lieb (a fantastic speaker in her own right), Jessica Groopman (expert researcher), and yours truly.

We found that companies must now integrate their marketing process, strategy, and tactics so each channel leverages each other. In fact, we’ve identified a few workflows that help marketers, and their agency partners do just that. If you’ve read the report, some of this is a rehash, but I wanted to share the story in the above embedded video of how I like to articulate it while on stage.

So here’s all three components in one location: The report that started it all, videos from a keynote speech to 2,500 marketers at Marketo Summit in SF last month, and all the slides. Wishing you all best in your efforts to converge media.

And yes, turn those phones on when I speak, not off.


Above: The Converged Media Report. we’re proud it’s been viewed over 128k times.


Above: The speech, from Marketo Summit in SF. Thanks to CMO and host, Sanjay Dholakia for the intro, I start around the 7min frame.

Above: The slides form this report.

Keynote Slides: Converging Your Paid+Owned+Earned Media #MUS13

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What should 2000 marketers know about the future of digital marketing? Thanks to Marketo, I’ve been asked to share recent research from Altimeter Group on how Paid, Owned, and Earned is converging into one single form of media live at their customer event here in San Francisco.

In this presentation, you’ll find the highlights from our recent report on Converged Media (Open Research, which you can download and share at will) and this slideshare includes a problem statement, definition, 6 real world examples, a workflow broken down into pieces, and closing remarks.

Love to hear your comments, if your brand is already converging Paid, Owned, and Earned, so we can tell your story on your success. A thank you to Jessica Groopman and Rebecca Lieb at Altimeter, who co-authored this research and content with me.

Coverage
Thanks to Danielle Naboulsi of Sundog for the write up
CMS Wire covers the presentation, as well as Amber’s, who spoke after me.
Additional discussion on Facebook