I have had the good fortune of seeing a number of exceptional corporate speakers.
Cisco’s John Chambers was polished, professional and personable during his keynote at a government conference a few years back. The way he graciously (and effectively) dismissed competitors like Juniper Networks and Tellabs was pure magic.
A keynote by Marc Benioff of Salesforce was equally compelling. His energized style captured the imagination and left the audience hungry to share and participate in the company’s vision.
And now I can add Eloqua’s Joe Payne to the list of must-see CEOs. Joe has had quite a year having led the company through a successful IPO. It would have been perfectly understandable for his keynote at Eloqua Experience (the company’s annual user conference) to have fallen flat.
It sure didn’t though. Joe’s presentation style was confident and charming, with a healthy and successful dash of humor.
Here are a few things during the keynote that played well:
1. Make an over the top entrance, yet tie it to your key theme. After showing a video of the Red Bull Stratos space jump, Joe arrived on stage in a space suit. The theme of innovation in modern marketing flowed from this memorable opening.
2. Engage the audience…make the presentation interactive. I’m not referring to the clichéd approach of asking the audience to raise their hand in response to a question. Rather, Joe called out specific customers in the audience for their successful use of Eloqua software, and rewarded them with praise and a gag gift.
3. Spread the wealth. At several points during the key note, Joe invited two of his colleagues on stage to demonstrate a new product feature of capability. This established credibility for the company’s management beyond the CEO, while also introducing different voices into the presentation.
Disclosure: Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) is an Eloqua partner and I have a personal relationship with Joe Payne.