Who should deliver our presentation?
There are several possibilities, any of which can work as long as the speaker is engaging, informative and relevant to the audience.
University leader—Typically a customer of the sponsor, the speaker delivers a case study of the school’s implementation. These tend to get high ratings by our attendees. Speakers from colleges and universities know how to present to their peers, and attendees like hearing from one of their own. Even mediocre speakers benefit from the “halo effect” that comes with speaking to colleagues.
Subject matter expert—Typically a third-party, independent expert in the subject related to the sponsor’s line of business. Good speakers who have customized their presentations for the attendees’ level of interest get high marks. Speakers who dive too deeply into the weeds of their subject, or who failed to connect their topic to the sponsor’s solution, will receive poor marks.
Company executives—Typically founders, CEOs, educational “evangelists” or other top managers from the sponsor. We have had instances of great success due to the charisma, expertise and/or passion of the speaker. When executive presentations have been poorly received, it was usually due to lack of preparation/rehearsal, a topic poorly aligned with attendees’ interests, or a presentation that crossed the boundary into a sales pitch.
Panel discussion—We’ve had several sessions where the sponsor has been on stage with two or three panelists, typically leaders from customer-institutions. Each panelist is asked to do a mini-presentation, and then the sponsor conducts a Q&A. The best of these sessions have appeared very natural, with very short mini-presentations and a spontaneous Q&A. Those that haven’t worked well tended to appear overly planned and rehearsed.