Getting mic’d up backstage while a host is introducing you to the audience produces a flood of endorphins. Pacing a little, trying to get a read on the audience by catching a glimpse, making sure you’ve got whatever it is you need and that your look is just so. I’d wear the same outfit whenever I presented. This mild-mannered citizen changed into his superhero uniform of self-empowerment looking and feeling all rock ’n roll circusy. Many conference/keynote speakers had tremendous stage presence. Others hid behind the podium and read from a transcript or right off the slides already being read by the audience. Sitting in the back or side of the room it’s useful to pay attention to how the attendees are reacting. When did people start to lose interest and begin scrolling their phones? Get up and leave? For the presenter dying on stage, it’s a nail in their ego’s coffin. Dozers are the most painful to watch. Heads bobbing and rolling as if they’d been tranquilized. Usually this happens to presenters who must go on just before lunch, or the dreaded 2:00 slot when most people are suffering from postprandial lethargy.
The genre is infotainment and keeping the audience awake, engaged, and hungry for more is paramount. Every time you get up on that stage it’s another opportunity to reach one more customer, colleague, or even competitor. Make damn sure your content and delivery is nothing they’ve ever seen before. It’s never a show. It’s all business. In my case, representing and promoting the company I worked for as a means of reaching an audience that was otherwise being unserved. While Sales was busy going in the front door, I was being invited in through the side entrance. As a result, many windows of opportunity opened up leading to millions of dollars in revenue for Firmenich over the years.