Appearing for a keynote or session? Think carefully about what the audience expects, and be ready to pivot.
This was a lesson learned the hard way at Mark Zuckerberg’s first keynote in 2008, when he became the surprising star of the event -- and not for good reasons.
The then 23-year-old Facebook founder was a much anticipated keynote to be interviewed by journalist Sarah Lacy. She’d planned a conversational chat with Zuck, since he was notoriously tight-lipped. Unfortunately, he seemed uncomfortable on the stage, and when the conversation didn’t move past small talk, the audience rebelled, yelling out commands such as “Talk about something interesting” to the applause of the crowd.
After battling with the audience, Lacy eventually turned from interviewer to moderator between the founder and the audience.