Browsing Tag

Public Speaking

Spring Has Sprung! So that must mean I’m Camping and Talking all over the place…

There are just a bunch of events I’m planning on attending which should be a blast over the next 45 days or so. Every year spring marks the time for rebirth, but also a bunch of travel for me and always has.  I really like to see how the country changing in spring, but also meeting with folks that read this blog and getting the opportunity to meet people I don’t already know.   To that end, I thought I would do a post on places I’m going to be in an effort to hopefully catch up with more folks along the way.   Traveling around and having interesting conversations around product marketing and product management is not just part of my job, it’s something I really enjoy.   I guess that makes me a little geekier than most, but you have to love what you do.

Speaking of conversations, I just had the pleasure last week to do a Podcast on innovation with Scott Sehlhorst and Josh Duncan which was a blast. If you are interested in listening, you can hear it on A Random Jog or via iTunes.  I hope Josh makes this into an ongoing series, since there is still a good deal of stuff to tackle in product marketing for technology folks.

So here is my schedule of where I’m speaking publicly and the events I plan to be @


ProductCamp Chicago – 4/2 @ Orbitz:  This is the second installment of PCAMP Chicago and it has reached the maximum number of registrants already, so while you can’t register, you should be able to keep up to date on the happening online this weekend via Twitter.  This weekend is a busy ProductCamp weekend, with several of my fellow instructors at Pragmatic Marketing also participating in Silicon Valley PCamp and the Boston ProductCamp.

ACETECH 4/7 – This is an interesting event without a doubt set in beautiful Whistler.  So while I’m going Whistler I’m probably not skiing, but I’m definitely looking forward to talking strategy with some of Canada’s senior technology leaders and getting better insight from founders and CEO’s on their take of what they are seeing in their markets.  While I’d love to spend time skiing, I’m excited about the event because it is chocked full of interesting activities and a schedule of great content which I’m looking forward to from a learning perspective.   I already know at least two readers who are planning to make it so if you are, drop me a note.

ProductCamp DC – 4/30: This is the second installment of ProductCamp DC and will be first one for me.  There is still space for registering, but if this is like other PCAMP’s it’s probably not going to have room soon, so don’t forget to register. I’m certainly looking forward to meeting folks who I’ve been following on twitter and in the marketplace who I have yet to meet in person like @pradsam.


Austin 5/2 -4 – I’ll be in ATX for both an Effective Product Marketing and a Product Launch Essentials seminar at the AT&T conference center which is one of my favorite venues.  If you haven’t had been to one of the training courses for outbound marketing, this course is anchored in the Pragmatic Marketing Framework and how to better manage engagement and content to influence buyers.  You can find out more on the seminars from the website.

Schedule Updates

So with being on the road like this for the next month or so it might be hard to keep up with the whole blogging thing, but I’ll try.  Regardless, now that you know where I am let’s catch up on the road if you are attending one of these events.

I’ll continue to update by my schedule in the widget up on the right for those of you who are interested.  Now if you’re interested in staying up to date on product camps, you can do so at

If you want general schedule information for marketing training events or product management courses, you can sign up for alerts on when Pragmatic Marketing is in your area, subscribe to the RSS feed or even go to the facebook page and join the other 500+ product marketing and management folks keeping up to date on all the blogs, seminar dates and product camps around the globe.

Enjoy spring and see you on the road, cheers!


Where has all the civility gone? Public Speaking isn’t easy already

One of the early discussions I remember in terms of learning how to act in public was taught to me on the Muppet Show.  It was a weekend night and I was probably like 6 years old and the conversation went something like this:

ME: Why are those Muppets interrupting and mean?
Mom: Well son, some people are just jackasses
ME: Yeah, it’s just Rude
Mom: If you don’t like something just leave, since other people might be enjoying it and it would be disruptive to those people.
ME: These courtesy, kindness and respect things are so complex.

One of the most challenging things for people to do is speak in public and it is not getting any easier.  For some the larger the crowd, the more stress.  Others don’t flourish well in small interactive groups and some people are just plain bad at speaking, but they did have the courage to get up there and apparently have the ability to write a good abstract.  Regardless if they got the slot they may have some experiences to share and more than likely have something you can take away. Good or bad, you should take some lessons away from most pitches.

I get the opportunity to speak occasionally, I’m horribly mediocre and I ultimately appreciate the thoughtful feedback and the posts on Twitter as well to learn from.  I think as audience members, we have an obligation to allow the speaker to present his or her materials and provide constructive feedback.

#dontembrarassurself  indeed!  But, apparently I’m a little old school and this is not cases in today’s social media world and it’s ok according to Jeremiah Owayng, in fact you should just deal with it and adopt some new skills which will even further limit/intimidate more speakers from sharing their content/ideas.  Here are his recommendations:

Prepare More Than Ever– This is one I buy without issues, not being prepared is a lack of respect in some aspects to your audience.

Know Your Audience’s Social Technology Adoption. – While interesting for a technology conference, not that relevant – really.  If you have good content and are prepared, technology adoption shouldn’t be in your thinking.  You should just be thinking KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.

Monitor the Backchannel While Speaking. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Guy Kawasaki keynote a large conference, he monitors the body actions from the crowd and commands attention of the audience, he’s making micro-tweeks to his presentation to engage and react.   Just as speakers do this in the real world, they must be monitoring the verbal, explicit reactions in the backchannel like Twitter or a chat room.   Ask coordinators to display a monitor on stage facing you to see hashtags, use your mobile phone, or have your computer on stage to quickly see the stream. – I wouldn’t recommend this, stay focused, tell your story and feel the vibe is complex enough, plus the online chatter gets multiplied by folks that aren’t even in the room.  Noise to signal team.  Real-time content/conversation adjustments to unknowns typically doesn’t have an upside.  If they are a known entity that you can actually physically see in the room and not some random in the hallway, you may be able leverage it into the discussion.  Could be fun for all if integrated well.

Develop Backup Resources to Monitor. Some speakers have told me this is nearly impossible for them to do as they are focused on presenting content, here’s two tips for you. Speakers who are unable to monitor the backchannel should have a buddy attend the speech, sit in the front row, or off stage, and indicate if there’s something out of the ordinary they need to respond to.  If your speaker content is rehearsed –it should be second nature to present it.   Scoble is known for taking “Twitter breaks” during his presentation every 15 minutes to gauge the audience feedback.  — If Scoble is doing it must be a great idea, social media sourcing at it’s best.  Cite a social media personality and a ok speaker, naturally and who has the ability to integrate the stream into his pitch.  We call that part of his shtick, Gallagher smashed watermelons, Carrot Top had weird props and Scoble does real-time online sentiment integration/adjustments. I wonder how many people can pull off that speaking prop?

Interact with the Audience: If your speech is going well, a majority of the tweets will be echos of what you’re saying then retweets.  However, some speakers should monitor and look for questions, comments, or interesting new information that would add to the presentation.  For example, at the Web 2.0 expo, I saw an audience member say my panel was boring on twitter, so I immediately shifted to Q&A which kept the audience interest.  It probably was boring for that person, but I wonder if others were digging where you were going?

Practice Two-Fisted Speaking. In the future, we may start to see presenters with two devices in hand: the presentation clicker in right hand, and cell phone in right hand, monitoring the flow of conversation.  Once this is a universally accepted reality we will have distracted audiences, speakers and slowed flow of information sharing and learning.      People will adjust the tempo, the tone and miss the message/run out of time. Remember, not all people learn from reading and for some, these conference things are learning events, not filler until the Google party.

At the end of the day, public speaking is definitely in transition and the real-time conversation is out there, but use it as feedback, just as the comments you get from event after your presentation is rated.  Learn from it, integrate it into your next pitch and try to continuously improve.

Vote with your feet and side on trying to add value to the discussion, rather than jumping on the Twitter sentiment bandwagon.  The funny thing about negative comments, is they encourage more – not sure why. In all fairness, Jeremiah was really cool which his outreach.  Empathy is so much better than criticism.

I guess we all like a good beating, kinda like fights in high school.   I think we should all find a way to encourage active participation and sharing of information in real-life, we are just a little too good at it from behind a keyboard.  Myself included.

Full Disclosure

  • I check twitter about 50% of the way through when presenting to an audience which would more than likely tweeting – know your audience.
  • I tweet at conferences – good and bad
  • I leave presentations, rather than watch a train wreck
  • I also fill out the survey and always try to find something positive to say in the additional comments

CONSULTING NICHE ALERT: Effective Presenting in a technology enabled world.  This could be the new Social Media Guru segment.