Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Keepin' it real...

When I give a presentation to a group of business folks I usually have about 30 - 45 minutes for my spiel. Here are the points/resources I try to cover:
  • Local human librarians vs. Google
  • ReferenceUSA
  • DemographicsNow
  • General OneFile
Often the presentation is at some sort of a networking event so try to pay attention to the make up of the audience before your presentation.  I just spoke today to a group that included a man who is at the beginning stages of putting together a business plan for an indoor shooting range.  Interesting.  When it was my turn with the microphone I used ReferenceUSA and showed the group how he could pull together a list of all the shooting ranges in Washington State so he can instantly know who his competition -- and potential collaborators -- might be.  That's a good thing to know when it comes to guns.  Using DemographicsNow I then showed how to round up the demographics around other successful shooting rangers and compare them against his potential site.  Also in the crowd was a woman who is thinking about starting up her own wedding planning business.  Using General OneFile I showed the 21,000+ articles on the wedding industry that she could sift through and showed how to jump immediately to articles focused on "forecasts and trends."  Oohs and ahhhs all around.

The end result is that by using actual real-life, present-in-the-room types of examples the content of the presentation is moved from the yeah-that's-neat-in-a-theoretical-sense sentiment to holy-crap-I-need-access-to-these-resources-right-now mentality.  You can see the shift in the room as people go from uninterested nonbelievers to converts.  And that's the power of keeping it real.  Yo.

Side note: today I had the luxury of sitting in the back of the room and running the previously mentioned searches on my laptop before I got up to do the search live in front of the group.  I generally don't shy away from doing searches on the fly but if you can squeeze in a few sample searches in private it's a good idea.  That's keeping it kinda semi-real, albeit rehearsed.