A few days ago I discovered that Google Video had lost a video of one such talk that I gave at the National Library in Singapore in 2007 and so I uploaded it again to YouTube and in watching it, I realised it was an excellent example of how I like do things.
The traditional way goes something like this:
- Give the talk with loads of Powerpoint slides and don't allow any questions during your talk as it can upset your rehearsed speech and someone may ask you a difficult question.
- Take questions at the end but don't leave too much time as again you may be asked a difficult one or no one has any questions for you as you put them all to sleep and they are dying to get back to the office.
- Leave quickly.
- Give the talk (some Powerpoint slides are OK) and take questions as you want the session to be engaging and interactive.
- At the end of your talk, ask the participants to have a conversation about the topic of the talk or ask them a specific question. This can either be a short conversation at their tables or a more fully Cafe like session where they change tables in order to have a broader conversation with more people.
- Ask them to form a circle with their chairs.
- Continue the conversation as a whole group and take more questions.
- Hang around over coffee and engage in more conversation.
Try this for yourself. You don't have to be a professional speaker. The format is simple. It is easy to do. You do need a little bit of confidence to try it but people really enjoy conversation and they will love you for it. You can't go too far wrong.
Video: Knowledge Sharing Talk at NLB, Singapore
I am coaching someone at the moment who is a newly appointed head of a University department and they have been experimenting with the format. Not only are they enjoying introducing more conversation into their meetings but their members of staff are too.