In the last decade I’ve given hundreds of talks on digital marketing and advertising. The big keynote level talks in convention halls with thousands in attendance are definitely amazing experiences but the charm and authenticity of smaller sessions, for me, are so much more fulfilling.
Last week I gave back-to-back talks and it was exactly like what I described above. The first was a keynote for a major annual association event with thousands in attendance. The second was a community type talk with less than 30 people in attendance. Having them one after the other just emphasized the difference! For this post allow me to share three insights on why smaller audiences are sometimes better.
The Q&A is So Much Richer
This is probably the top reason why I love smaller audiences. Usually in big conferences you have a handful of questions and they usually are general in nature. The beauty of small audiences is that for some reason people are not afraid to ask tougher and meatier questions. Speakers can also afford to ask questions to probe which allows them to give better answers. This set-up transforms the sessions from a one-way talk to some sort of interactive consultancy which gives so much more value to the audience and the speaker.
Connect Better with the Audience
Smaller audiences allows speakers to connect better with the audience during the talk. One thing I love to do when giving talks is to always maintain eye contact throughout the session with different people in the audience. That becomes very difficult when it’s a keynote and there are hundreds or thousands in attendance. A smaller audience allows me to have eye contact with everyone in the room at least once during the session. It creates a more comfortable atmosphere and sets up the Q&A well since more people are at ease.
You Just Want to Linger
Lastly, I love to linger during smaller sessions. It’s nice to just hang out, talk with people, and get to know everyone in the room. In big keynote events that rarely happens since the program is just jam-packed. Sometimes the real value in attending events is not in the actual keynote session but it’s during the conversations with the speaker after the event itself.
Anyway, that’s it for now! Thank you to the great folks from SEO Shots who invited me again to their event last week. Keep up the good work guys!