One of the NBA’s all-time greatest players was the opening keynote speaker at the SiriusDecisions Summit yesterday, and he lived up to the reputation he’s achieved as an engaging presenter.  Through numerous stories and business lessons, Magic kept the entire room of 2500+ marketers engaged for nearly an hour.

I’ve written about presentation secrets of top keynoters before (here, here & here).

Here are some additional best practices & secrets Magic used in Nashville yesterday:

  • Work the crowd: Magic stepped up on stage….then immediately stepped off. He spent his entire keynote walking the halls, interacting with attendees, getting mad at Celtics fans, even taking spontaneous selfies.  It was fun to watch and kept the audience engaged (let alone taking a massive volume of pictures).
  • Tell stories: All the great ones do this and Magic was no exception.  But he was smoother than most at telling stories that mapped to business best practices, in particular because of his own successful transition from basketball legend to business mogul.
  • Know your material: No slides, just stories and engagement.  It was clear he’s both practiced and been coached.  His style matched his personality and reputation.
  • Be unpredictable: If he walked by you, there was a chance he would call on you, make you stand up, ask you a question. It kept the audience guessing, something you rarely see from speakers, but was a tactic that kept the audience even more engaged.
  • Over deliver: He literally wouldn’t stop.  He was 10-15 minutes over his allotted time, taking questions, telling more stories.  He was clearly prepared and gave everything he could to the opportunity.  This is all too rare among speakers who often get on stage, give their stump, and walk off.  Magic was the complete opposite.

If you were in the room, curious to hear some of your takeaways on his message, style and presentation as well.