Jeffrey Hayzlett, the former CMO of Kodak and a self-described “global business celebrity“, gave the keynote presentation on the last day of Eloqua Experience yesterday. This is the second time I’ve heard Jeffrey speak this year, and his style is unique, a bit over the top, but highly engaging and successful. He had the audience eating out of his hand for a full hour, and the conference center was buzzing about him the rest of the day.
I find it fascinating to break down what makes successful speakers so good, and here are eight “secrets” gleaned from seeing Jeffrey twice now:
Speak in “tweetable” moments
Many speakers don’t like their audience to tweet while they present, as they fear it takes their attention away. Hayzlett knows the opposite in fact is the best option to increase impact of his words and exposure beyond the room. He not only encourages tweets but set up a few in advance to post roughly timed to what he was talking about on stage. And he was smart enough to fill his slides with short, impactful messages and statistics that were perfect for 140 words or less. As a result, he generated massive Twitter volume during his one-hour keynote.
Give it everything you’ve got
Jeffrey yells. He stomps around. He’s extremely animated. When you watch Hayzlett talk, it’s truly a performance. He gives everything he’s got. Clearly this is part of his personality, but it also makes him a highly entertaining and dynamic presenter. It makes him memorable, which means more events and conferences will want him to lend that impact to their agendas as well.
Hayzlett made numerous points during the hour, but each time he brought the point to life with at least one story. He’s a master story-teller (the energy he brings is a huge part of that), and he’s able to keep his audience engaged not by sharing statistics and bullet points but with stories that take on a life of their own.
Swear a little
OK, so maybe Jeffrey let fly a couple too many f-bombs yesterday. But for someone with his personality, there’s something about a well-placed cuss word that lends credibility to your story. Not everybody can pull it off, but it’s clearly one of his secrets to keeping his audience richly engaged and satisfied.
Have a back story (be a brand)
Hayzlett is from South Dakota. He calls himself a “CMO Cowboy“. He talks extensively about his experience with horses. The story that comes with him, some say is fed by his ego, but I think it’s a carefully-crafted part of his own story, his own brand, that only increases his draw.
Give something away
Every keynote attendee got a free copy of Hayzlett’s new book, Running The Gauntlet. He could have charged for them in the back of the room, but he probably considers that penny wise and pound foolish. A smarter strategy (I assume this is why he does it) is to treat the books as a loss leader and a way to drive further pass-along and interest in future speaking and paid consulting gigs.
Be accessible afterwards
Most speakers disappear back into the green room as soon as they’re done, never to be seen again. Hayzlett mingled with the crowd. He signed copies of his book. And an hour later he was still in the hallways talking to people. He might not do that every time, but even just doing a little of it makes him feel that much more accessible, which does even more to add to his popularity and pass-along potential.