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Ok, I know I have a weird title for this post.  But it will make sense soon enough.

You’re hearing from me later in the week than usual because I spent the weekend in a swirl of SXSW activities.

One of those activities was me giving a talk Friday afternoon. Not only did I have the privilege of speaking at this major conference, but I was scheduled to speak in a ballroom at the key location: the Austin Convention Center.

As you can imagine I prepped like hell for this event. I worked for months on my speech, memorized it, created a nice looking presentation, and nailed a pretty cool outfit.  Despite all the prepping that the festival demanded of me (including 6 months of multiple submissions), I assumed the actual venue would be top-notch.

Weelllll, it felt a bit like amateur hour.  The conference did a god job clarifying exactly when and where I had to be. But when I arrived at the actual “stage” there was no clicker, the podium was smack in the middle of the stage (which is terrible if you seek to “own” the stage), and the lighting was horrible.  Either we dimmed the lights so that my sexy slides could pop or we keep the lights up so the audience can see me in all my glory.

I chose my slides over me.

Big mistake.

I asked the conference volunteers to dim the lights.  My slides ended up looked pretty good and my videos generated the energy I wanted, but the audience couldn’t really focus on me.

Let me be clear, I don’t want all eyes on me because I want to show off my blow out or new jeans.  The audience needs to connect with ME first, not my slides.  In hindsight this seems obvious.  But when you work so hard on your content, you can get hung up on it and lose sight of the fact that most people forget 80% of what you say.   If a speaker is awesome, people remember her — her energy, passion and brilliance, not her slides.

Oh well.  At least I didn’t pull a “Michael Bay” and totally screw up (though I think he may have made a perfect move for a whole other reason and that’s a post for another day :)).

Better yet, I did a pretty good job.  Too bad not enough people could have seen it.

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