I presented at CES and all I got was a bunch of ungrateful tweets

by Pierre Morsa

My colleague Ricardo pointed me to a tweet from Rene Ritchie, who was attending the conferences at CES.

This tweet says:

“Dear almost everyone on stage at CES: Pay ungodly amounts of money — anything you have to — to get WWDC speaker training ASAP.

Or go to Juilliard or the Royal Shakespeare Company for a month. Whatever works for you.”

If you look at the comments in the thread, it seems other attendees agree with him. The average level of the talks was perceived as unprepared and boring. That’s the bad news. The good news is, if you prepare well, you have a good chance to stand out and get noticed. And we’re not talking about a small event: we’re talking about the CES, one of the biggest shows on the planet.

We trained people to speak at CES before, including people who felt they were great and didn’t need training. It often shocked them when we told them they were not ready, especially people nobody dared to criticize.

We often wonder why people invest so little time in what might be the most important thing after actually having a (good) product: their pitch or presentation. There’s no miracle. That guy who was a great showman and seemed so natural? He rehearsed – a lot. He took the time to write a great speech and illustrate it with great visuals. He took the time to rehearse, and was coached by professionals.

You may think you’re just going to wing it. But that won’t fly. If you think you’re ready, do this test. Ask the best presenter you know to give you honest, unfiltered feedback on your presentation. If you hesitate to do so, maybe you should ask yourself why.

As a post-script, if you are organizing an important event, don’t leave anything to chance. Hire a specialist team of presentation coaches, and make sure every speaker gets help with story, slides and speaking. Some speakers may need less help than others - that’s fine. But a speaker who doesn’t have the time to prepare with a coach isn’t going to prepare properly anyway, and a speaker who feels he is too important to be helped will probably be so full of himself that he won’t adapt to your audience. Neither of these speakers has any place on your stage.

Make sure your speakers shine – otherwise, the only things people will remember from your event are tweets like Rene’s.