Professional killers can make for a tough crowd. Here are the main problems I encounter with an audience of assassins:
- Snipers. Tricky to spot; you need to be regularly checking for light reflecting off the scope lens, or the beam of a laser sight. Don’t stare at your slides, it’s a rookie move. Maintain eye contact with your audience.
- Ninjas. These nutcases will spend hours hiding in the ceiling above the lectern for a good opportunity to jump down and strangle you. Incorporate a few pauses when speaking – they allow you to listen for those telltale creaks. Don’t stand behind the the lectern – that’s what everyone does.
- Robots from the Future. Predictable, slow, and unimaginative, these machines are usually disguised as your fellow presenters (giveaway: use of laser pointers). Show some originality, character and emotion.
Also watch out for stabbing (don’t invade your audience’s space), poison (have a fresh bottle of water to hand) and orbital cannon strikes (stay mobile; a moving target is trickier to hit).
The key points – as always – are preparation and awareness. Do a thorough sweep beforehand, arm yourself with one of those new Logitech clicker/taser combinations, and remain vigilant at all times.
Trained killers they may be, but like any audience, for the first minute or so they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Remember you’re the expert. Assume the role and you won’t let them down.
Of course, you could always just avoid annoying them in the first place. Try writing, rehearsing and delivering something original, informative and entertaining which doesn’t over-run.
That kevlar vest is too heavy, anyway, right?