VMworld and your presentation skills

VMworld scoring system is a proven measurement. It has been battle tested for years and I found it a great reflection of your presentation skills. I explained the system here. While there are cultural difference between US and Europe audience, the ratings are very consistent. You get what you deserve to get.

It’s hard get a high score in VMworld. You’re presenting at the world stage, so the expectation is high. If you are not from US or Europe, you’re presenting to people from different culture. So if you get a high score, you can be proud of your presentation skills and hard work.

Don’t be obsessed with the final score itself. Use the details to improve your presentation skills. The details is a great measurement on presentation skills.

My presentations in the last 4 VMworld (2015, 2016, 2017 US, 2017 Europe) ranges from 4.3 to 4.8. Having done >10 presentations, I have a good feeling on what the audience value.

The website to review the survey and feedback is slow. It also does not render properly. Luckily, you can export the details to Excel. Here are the areas assessed:

I highlighted in red the area that need improvement in my case.

  • As a presenter, I get too excited about the product, as I’m deeply involved on it. The audience loves to see passionate presentation, but I need to be extra sensitive that it does not come across as selling. 1 attendee actually gave me a “strongly disagree“. Now, the feedback system is anonymous, so you cannot reach out to the person to find out why.
  • The audience loves technical depth. It’s hard to compress everything in 1 hour while remaining technical. I thought I have given it enough technical depth. From the feedback, it’s clear they want more.

The green is where the score is >4.8. I use 4.8 as the benchmark that I’ve done well and need to ensure I maintain it.

  • Audience wants to be respected and engaged. I encouraged them to move the front seats, ask questions and provide product feedback before the sessions start. Normally, you have a good 10 minutes before the actual time. I use it for Q&A, sending a signal that I value their Questions more than my presentation. If I do a small workshop and I have more time, I may even give more time until the audience is happy.
  • Audience wants someone who truly knows the subject. If you’re presenting a product, it helps if you are directly involved in the product design. They want to know they can give direct feedback to the person doing the work.
  • Audience wants to be entertained. Let’s face it. Datacenter Infrastructure is dry and boring. We love the technology, but we’d rather watch movie and play games instead of sitting in window-less room watching a presentation. I use humour a lot. Having done >100s presentations, I know entertainment complements education.
  • Audience wants something practical that they can apply. If you download my deck, you notice there is not a single marketecture slide. I don’t even mention the edition of the product, as it’s something I can mention in passing. Every slide has to be about the audience.

The audience also provides raw feedback. This is important as they have to type it, not simply selecting from a drop-down. So I value this more than the score. Some types from their mobile, so you get short feedback. Here are some of them. The audience certainly appreciate your effort and reward you well:

  • e1 was the best speaker I have experienced in all the VMworlds I have attended. He was so excellent that you needed an extra option on the rating scale.
  • Most interesting session I have ever been to after 3 years of VMworld.
  • Best session I have attended
  • Best session overall.
  • This is possibly the best presentation I’ve seen this year. There is a big gap of useful vRealize demos
  • Presenter was excellent (e1)

There are no shortage of generic tips on how to deliver a great presentation. Here is a short post I wrote on it. That’s what I follow, and I hope it works for you too.

May the force be with you in your presentation.

 

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