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3:03pm on Tuesday, 17th January, 2012:

Untalking the Talk


I'm often asked to give presentations at events, and on many occasions I accept. I always ask them what they want me to talk about, and we negotiate until we find something that works for both of us.

The single worst thing that people say when I ask what they want me to talk about is "whatever you like". I tell them that this means I'll be giving them a talk about 1869 maps of Europe or pagodas and they say "whatever you like that's games-related". This is where I enthuse about my collection of antique playing cards. Finally, they'll tell me to talk about "whatever you think the audience will like".

The reason I don't like this open-ended approach is because I thereupon put together a talk on some subject that I think the audience will like, only for the organiser to say they don't like it for some reason. It happens every time.

Anyway, we went through this rigmarole for an event at London Business School I'm talking at next week. I was given a completely open agenda with the proviso that the audience should like it. I wrote something I thought I'd like. The organiser told me he thought they'd like a cut-down version of my gamification talk from last year instead.

Really? So why didn't he tell me that when I asked what he wanted me to talk about? Why did I have to write a completely different talk before he'd tell me?

So, rather than waste a good talk, here it is. It's only a handful of slides because it was for a 15-minute time slot.

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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).