Con­fes­sions of a com­pul­sive con­fer­ence-goer

An­drew Klein, pro­fes­sional MC and pre­sen­ta­tion skills speaker and direc­tor of SPIKE Pre­sen­ta­tions, presents his front line ob­ser­va­tions on con­fer­ences in a reg­u­lar fea­ture in BEN.

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We will en­gage you

LAST week I went to see the new Fred­die Mer­cury movie Bo­hemian Rhap­sody (loved it by the way).

Much like Queen in their prime, crit­ics have thumbed their noses at it, but au­di­ences are hooked.

One thing the movie shows is the way in which Mer­cury and the band went out of their way to en­gage their au­di­ence in their live shows. Mer­cury was a mas­ter of this.

Apart from be­ing a hugely tal­ented singer, he had an in­cred­i­ble abil­ity to en­gage his au­di­ences by get­ting them in­volved in the songs and the per­for­mance. A Queen show was not just a band on stage per­form­ing “to” the peo­ple, it was cre­at­ing an op­por­tu­nity for the au­di­ence to be “part of” the per­for­mance to help them share the live ex­pe­ri­ence.

Hav­ing seen Queen live in the early 80’s (yes, I’m that old), I re­call that eu­phoric ex­pe­ri­ence of feel­ing an in­te­gral part of the show.

Whether it was Queen back in the day or in more re­cent times, artists like Cold­play (drop­ping gi­ant balloons into the crowd to be punched around the arena) or many of the best hip-hop per­form­ers (throw your hands in the air etc), the best con­certs are the “ex­pe­ri­ences.” The best per­form­ers all do this – the pause in the cho­rus for the au­di­ence to com­plete the next few lines, the call and re­sponse trick (I sing - now you sing), and most no­tably in the Queen clas­sic “We Will Rock You” where the clap­ping and stomp­ing au­di­ence cre­ate the beat of the song. The movie shows the band cre­at­ing the song specif­i­cally to in­volve the au­di­ence. As a con­fer­ence MC and speaker, I strongly be­lieve that a con­fer­ence room is no dif­fer­ent to a con­cert au­di­to­rium.

The best pre­sen­ters are the ones who en­gage the au­di­ence in the con­fer­ence pre­sen­ta­tion. The ses­sion is a two way ex­pe­ri­ence.

Ques­tions to the au­di­ence, au­di­ence ac­tiv­i­ties, chats with the peo­ple seated on your ta­ble, get­ting peo­ple up off their seats, walk­ing amongst the au­di­ence or get­ting some peo­ple up on stage, con­stantly prod­ding (gen­tly) the au­di­ence to be in­volved and en­gaged.

These pre­sen­ters will not only keep their au­di­ence awake but they will en­sure their mes­sages and the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing there are re­ally re­mem­bered, much like my mem­o­ries of that Queen con­cert at the Syd­ney En­ter­tain­ment Cen­tre back in the day. If you like Queen or want to see a unique en­ter­tainer work­ing with an au­di­ence, ig­nore the crit­ics and go see the movie. Galileo, Galileo Galileo Fi­garo. Mag­nifico-o-o-o-o.

If you are look­ing for an MC for your next con­fer­ence or a speaker/trainer on pre­sen­ta­tion skills or pitch­ing skills, email an­[email protected] or visit his web­site at www.an­drewk­lein.com.au.

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