There are days you wish never happened. Then there are days you wish you could relive again and again. This was one of those days.
Being featured at Microsoft was a major milestone for my career. More than anything else it signified making it to the big leagues. As if it was a certified seal from Bill Gates himself. Speaking at Microsoft a week after the success of Marketing Week was the perfect opportunity to keep the momentum going. It was a chance to be heard and recognized again, and in this industry, what's not heard and recognized withers away quite quickly. The speech at Microsoft was a 5 minute presentation on a topic of choice. My choice was naturally authentic marketing.
I spoke well and the crowd was engaged from the get-go, but I felt I needed to improvise a game-changer. Two minutes into my speech I turned the tables on my audience. I challenged the crowd to ask me specific questions regarding their on-going marketing campaigns. It was like the room woke up or someone had turned on the lights.
When I speak, my goal is to always have a conversation with the audience. My goal is to connect in order to educate and persuade. The challenge then becomes how to authentically communicate with your audience when they are constantly distracted.
My approach was direct. I stopped talking to the audience and started talking with the audience. I went from monologue to dialogue and that was exactly my point. Marketers are so used to speaking to their audience, they forget why their talking to them in the first place. Marketers forget to listen because they’re so used to pitching.
What a moment of clarity. After the presentation, there was a line of enthusiastic executives waiting to meet me. I spent time with each person that day going over their marketing challenges and giving them ideas on how to approach an authentic mindset. It was a great experience, especially knowing that people walked away with valuable insight.
At the end, when the spotlight fades, what's most important to me is that my words, my experiences, and my presentations, help people avoid pitfalls and put their insight to good use.