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Wild Presentations. How to keep the crowd begging for more.

Bill McApline in front of the map I created live during his speech. See this and other maps in the Live Mapping gallery.

Bill McApline in front of the map I created live during his speech. See this and other maps in the Live Mapping gallery.

I have the opportunity to watch a lot of presentations as I work on the sidelines as a graphic recorder. From that perspective, I have picked up a few tips about what makes a crowd hang on to a presenter’s every word—and what makes them yawn.

I recently graphic recorded a terrific speech by Bill McAlpine of the Energy Management Institute. Here are some thoughts on what helped the crowd stay interested, focused, and begging for more.

The wild factor: McAlpine has more energy than the Energizer Bunny. He talks to groups as if they’re old friends, using examples from his personal life, which are at times self-deprecating, touching, and endearing. He spoke for four hours and people didn’t want him to leave. This group would have happily listened to him all day long.

Why was it great? McAlpine walks his talk and it shows. His speech, titled “Energy Management,” focuses on ways for senior leaders in stressful jobs to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle while continuing to perform well at work. Since McAlpine looks a good 10 years younger than he is, and his work schedule is as demanding as anyone’s, he’s quite an inspiration on this subject. His advice about stress and recovery, nutrition, exercise, and healthy habits is practical and attainable.