Go to enough of these conferences and you see a TON of presentations.  Most end up sounding all too similar – slides with too many words, presenters who are reading those slides to you, good information but lackluster presentation. Occasionally you get amazing information but the presentation style fails to light a fire with the audience.

Of course, some speakers have amazing stage presence and get high marks but their style hides a somewhat lack of substance.

And then, there’s Andrew Davis.

The following story could easily be dismissed as a myth, if I didn’t know it was 100% true.  Because it happened to me.

I met Andrew for the first time at a content marketing retreat on Whidbey Island (about an hour north of Seattle) six years ago.  Andrew was already a force to be reckoned with – both on stage and via his consulting firm.  I’d never met him before nor seen him speak.

For 45 minutes that day he blew me away.  He blew the whole audience away.  His content, his approach, his energy.  It was amazing.

I, of course, was on stage next.  Talking about metrics.  Awesome.

And to top it all off, as Andrew walked off stage and past me, he looked me in the eye, shook my hand, and said “follow that, bitch!”

True story.

If the story ended there, you would get absolutely the wrong idea about Andrew.  He’s not a jerk nor is he arrogant.  In fact, he’s the complete opposite.  A genuinely great guy.  Approachable and humble.

He’s kept those attributes despite the fact that, over the past several years, his stage has continued to rise meteorically.  He speaks across the globe now to larger and larger audiences.  He’s one of the most dynamic speakers I have the pleasure of watching and learning from.

What makes him so great on stage?  As I’ve done for others (here, here and here), these are a few attributes that I believe make Andrew so great:

The night before he spoke last week at the 6Sense InMarket Conference, Andrew and I shared a drink at the pre-event networking event.  Thirty minutes before he took the stage, I saw him pacing in the back of the room.  The second he took the stage, he lit the room on fire.  His presence and energy – the way he physically owned the stage – was impressive.  You could see cell phones being put down, people leaning in.  His energy earned everyone’s immediate attention.

Some speakers talk too fast and it’s a distraction from their message.  With Andrew, his speed amplified his effect and impact.  For thirty minute he didn’t let up.  He knew his content cold, followed his presentation and visuals without leaning on them without a crutch.  He had clearly prepared, clearly practiced, and that allowed him to leverage his energy and speed as an asset on stage.

In another life, Andrew could do stand-up.  He’s hilarious.  If his “between points” remarks on stage are rehearsed, he’s even more polished than I thought.  If they aren’t, his quick wit and sense of humor are seriously on point.  Great speakers keep your attention through a variety of means, but humor – genuine, authentic, spontaneous humor – works every time.

Talk in Tweets
Most speakers ignore this opportunities.  Others oversaturate their audience.  Some of the best? They do it subtly, without calling attention to those tweetable moments.  They’re less frequent but incredibly powerful.  Things like “what if your moment of inspiration is tied to your prospect’s aspirations?” and “I know the ending of your case studies. What if I didn’t? Wouldn’t that be more interesting?”

No PowerPoint
Every time I’ve seen Andrew present, he’s used Prezi.  I’ve never been courageous enough to do that, but the format allows him to present visuals as an aid and augmentation to his presentation, not as the foundation.  Great speakers know that their best impact comes from what THEY say, not what their slides say.

A Call to Action 
At the end of the presentation, literally the last words Andrew said before the crowd erupted in applause, was “You’ve been Drewed”.  Simultaneously the URL www.youvebeendrewed.com appeared on screen.  It stayed there during the brief Q&A.  The site is a clever combination of highlights from Drew, information about how to hire him at your next event, and an individual attendee subscription to receive his content periodically.  Well done.