I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about great presentations, trainings, and workshops as part of the American Evaluation Association’s Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i).

Here’s something I’ve been pondering: How do you know when you’ve given a great conference presentation? My ideas so far:

  • People walk up to the front and talk to you before the presentation gets started (because they’ve already heard about you/your presentation and are looking forward to it)
  • People walk up to the front and talk to you after the presentation
  • People want your business card after the presentation
  • People ask questions throughout the presentation (and not necessarily only when you’ve paused to ask them whether they’ve got any questions – asking questions throughout is generally a great thing)
  • Barely anyone is playing on their cell phone (exception: if they’re tweeting about how much they’re learning in your presentation)
  • People are willing to sit on the floor or stand in the back of the room to hear your presentation
  • People are taking notes, sometimes furiously, to capture what you’re saying
  • Months later, you run into people at other evaluation brown bags or happy hours and when they greet you, they say, “Oh I know you already, I saw your presentation at the conference!”
  • Afterwards, people comment, “I learned so much!” or “You changed my entire way of thinking!”
  • People email you afterwards and ask you to co-present with them next year
  • People email you afterwards and ask for a copy of your presentation
  • People email you afterwards to offer you a consulting opportunity

I didn’t start writing this post with audience engagement in mind… but I suppose that’s what my brainstorming points to?

– Ann Emery

P.S. While I’ve accomplished a few of these, I’ve by no means accomplished all of them (yet!). These are things I’m aiming for and things I’ve seen happen as a result of other evaluators’ great presentations.