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Anonymous HR

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“Thank you, I’d love to speak at your event…”


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From: HR Director, founder, the people’s ’people people’ people
To: Head of Events, a London venue 
Subject: #LHRTFIL2015

Hi there,

Thanks for reaching out to me to submit a proposal to talk at Learning and HR Tech Futures International Live. It’s a great honour to be considered for such a prestigious event and I believe I can really provide some value-add to the roster of speakers while also making a difference to the conference agenda.

Here is a rundown of what I’d like to cover and how this might look.

Session title: Leveraging your bespoke training solutions for tomorrow’s global workforce today, and yesterday.

My 50 slide deck will include:

  • A series of isolated statistics about ‘how much more connected we are now’, without any analysis of the impact this might have
  • Some variation of ‘content may be king but context is the kingdom’
  • Denying I’m going to use the phrase ‘death by powerpoint’ and using it in the process
  • That Maya Angelou quote about ‘how people will never forget how you made them feel’
  • That meme with all the kids standing around at a party looking at their phones with the slogan ‘best party ever’
  • That gif of the toddler trying to swipe a magazine
  • Half the info of my presentation on one slide in an illegibly small font
  • A graph without labelled axes so you have no idea of scale
  • An over-reliance on acronyms such as VUCA
  • A case study that has no practical takeaways
  • A reference to Google/Apple/Richard Branson, oblivious to the fact that 99% of businesses don’t have the money to accommodate such innovation in the learning/HR departments.
  • A slide featuring nothing but a grandstanding statement such as ‘the end of [COMMON TECH WORD]’ or a neologism I made up last night
  • Over-use of the word ‘disruptive
  • Comic sans

I think with these elements my talk will be a compelling and engaging session for all HR professionals who attend.

I hope to hear from you soon,

HR Director

5 Responses

  1. This post made me smile. I’m
    This post made me smile. I’m fairly sure it was meant to be tongue in cheek and, as such, it’s amusing because we’ve all seen presentations which include some of the items mentioned. And it’s a good reminder to not take shortcuts or get lazy. I like a good inspirational quote as much as the next person but we should all seek out (or create) new insights rather than rely on the ones used repeatedly. Of course there are some brilliant presenters (like the people that have commented here no doubt) and I have seen some great Conference presentations. But I’ve equally seen some disappointing ones especially since it is a significant investment of time and money. So a good light hearted reminder of things to avoid.

  2. Heh.
    The usual reply I get from events (regardless on how good the pitch is) is “We would love to have you speak. A speaking slot comes with the Bronze to Platinum sponsorship package. Let me know how you wish to pay”.
    It is no wonder so many talks are uninspiring or simply product pitches 🙁

  3. I agree that talks don’t have
    I agree that talks don’t have to be like that, and too many are. I have used a very different approach, an “Untalk!” on Influencing Skills. There were no slides and no detailed preparation. I started by asking people to spend a few minutes in pairs thinking what about what they wanted to know about the topic and to think of a question or two. Then I answered their questions. It went well. People stayed alert. Next time I would have asked the audience to share their ideas as well.

    We just don’t have to do things the way they have always been done!

    1. Hi Nick, I am fine with no
      Hi Nick, I am fine with no slides but not with “no detailed preparation”. Ok some people can make it work but I have seen it fall flat too many times.
      If I am paying in to a conference I want to know the speakers have worked on preparing and condensing an informative, engaging (and bonus entertaining) talk.

  4. Thanks for sharing this blog.
    Thanks for sharing this blog. It makes very sad reading and unfortunately comes across as very judgemental, although I’m sure it’s not intended as such. I agree that 50 slide presentation decks are extreme and unnecessary. A good presenter should be able to present from very few slides, designed to inspire and illustrate a talk. Quotes and images are more engaging than slide after slide of dull copy, that’s why they’re used! Some quotes may be hackneyed but they are over used for a reason….they’re generally profound! Putting together a compelling slide deck takes time and effort. My experience as a presenter and trainer is generally very positive and I always consider my audience. A little appreciation of the hard work and passion that many presenters invest in their work wouldn’t go amiss.

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