March 1

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How do you approach security (or other) speakers?

It’s no secret that I am an “expert who speaks on the topic of preventing breaches and protecting information” (notice how that was crafted – I’m not a speaker, I’m an expert who speaks. We can argue about the meaning of expert later – but I’m certainly passionate!). I love what I do – and I enjoy relating security concepts to protect information in a way that seems almost easy. When I work with an audience, I always offer my email address and telephone number. Straight up, no strings attached. I offer that if people have questions, need something, are concerned – send me and email, call me (and now I add in the ability to chat). I then call that the 1% rule – maybe 1% (or less) of audiences I have offered that too have ever actually taken me up on it!

So what does that mean to you?

How are you engaging the speakers and presenters you listen to? Do you ask questions? Are you afraid to?

As a speaker, I love being engaged (and even challenged) by the audience. I want you to be passionate, take a position and get involved. Yet there are times when I offer to answer questions during a close and there are those awkward silent moments.

Mark Goulston over at the Never Eat Alone blog (great book, good blog) wrote a short piece with some suggestions called: Connecting With Speakers. As a speaker, I have to tell you that I have yet to have someone use this approach with me – but I entirely welcome it. Think about this the next time you are about to attend an event – connect ahead of time, prepare some questions (not acting as a plant, mind you) and then enjoy the richness of the entire experience.

What are some other techniques you use to get more out of the presentations you attend? Do you engage the speakers – why or why not?

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