Show a little respect!

Over the past several weeks I have been attending a terrific series of webinars on presenting given by well known experts in presentation design and delivery.  It was a great use of my time, until yesterday, and I have to tell you the story.

As usual, the webinar started bang on time (I like that).  The host spent to 2 1/2 minutes thanking the audience, asking them to take a survey and a couple of other admin details.  I am fine with that.  She spent ninety seconds introducing the guest speaker.  I am also fine with that.  It took 30 seconds to hand over and the speaker had to ask a question about the controls.  Not good, but I can live with that.       

We are now 4:45 into the webinar and the speaker starts by introducing himself.  At seven minutes we are looking at a childhood picture of him with his sister.  At 8 1/2 minutes he starts to pitch his company and at 9 1/2 minutes he starts the pitch for his soon to be published book.  Thank goodness, at 10 1/2 minutes he actually starts his presentation!     

The opening consisted of a cute story consisting of 54 slides over the next 2 1/2 minutes finishing with a slide about how one of the main characters in this little story liked our presenter's company.  At 13 minutes I had had enough, closed my browser and moved on to some other work.    

In earlier blog entries I have talked about credibility as a speaker and the importance of  a "Power Opening".  Part of credibility is about why you have the right to present to an audience.  That doesn't mean you should to show pictures of your dog or give them your resume.  The audience is not looking for cute; they are looking for you to tell them how you are going to solve their problem.  The first ten minutes can make or break your presentation and that is exactly what happened in this case.   If you don't respect an audience, their time and their needs, then they will never respect you.