The Teleprompter Presentation Anti Pattern

time to read 2 min | 252 words

A few days ago an email hit my inbox. It was a request for speakers in an event. That in itself is no cause for alarm, I am getting quite a few of those.

What was strange about this email was the... stipulations that it had. Basically, it listed the available topics, stated that all materials for the sessions were prepared (presentation, prep videos, etc), so all the speaker had to do was to show up, because no real experience was required.

I cringed when I saw that. I consider such a thing to be a practice is deceiving the attendees. Someone showing up for a session expect to get an discussion on the topic from someone who actually knows what they are doing. If the conference wanted someone to just recite the pre-created content, it should have hired an actor.

From the speaker perspective, I consider this even more of a problem. To quote a friend of mine, talking about something entirely different. You want me to put my name, my good reputation behind your stuff? What for? That is a very short path to tainting one's reputation.

I have been to such presentations, and I consider them horrible from all aspects. When I show up for a presentation, I expect to actually have some value added over the docs or marketing materials. If I wanted to read the docs, I could hit the site easily enough on my own. And I usually don't want anything to do with marketing materials.