Having good, if not great, presentation skills is another important arrow in the modern CISO’s influence quiver. Let’s be honest, security can at times be a dry and dull topic even for practitioners, so finding good ways to capture people’s attention is invaluable. Watching Enza Iannopollo’s fantastic keynote (“AI Ethics And Compliance: Risk Hell, Settle For Purgatory, Or Enter Paradise”) at our Security & Risk Forum this year really drove home how powerful and entertaining a good storyline can be when communicating, influencing, and connecting with your audience. As I wrote in my last blog, influence/communication is one of the most common threads of discussion with my client base. Enza’s presentation was a great example of using something outside of security — in this case, Dante’s “Divine Comedy” — to underscore a presentation on privacy and AI. The result? A captivating and entertaining presentation that drew you in and drove home the points she needed to make.

So how did she do this? Let’s look at some of the key components:

  • A catchy title. Packaging matters. A good title can draw you in and make you want to find out more about the subject or even draw you into something that you may have otherwise skipped over. Enza could have just named her keynote “AI Ethics And Compliance,” which would have been perfectly valid and accurate but definitely not catchy or attention-getting.
  • Setting up the storyline. The age-old “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them” is “age-old” because it works! In this case, Enza sets the stage by telling the audience about Dante’s “Divine Comedy” and how she is going to relate that to AI. The body of the presentation follows Dante and the current AI ethics and compliance landscape, and she wraps up with a quick summary, which is always a good way to end a presentation.
  • Humor. Comedy isn’t everybody’s forte, but if you can interject some humor, it’s a great way to keep the audience engaged. Besides, who doesn’t like a good laugh? It also helps with “stickiness,” as you are more apt to remember the presentation — clearly, as I’m writing a whole blog about it!
  • Enthusiasm. If you’re not having fun, don’t expect your audience to! If you’re not passionate about the subject, why should your audience be?
  • Slides/graphics. As another great Forrester presenter pointed out, keep your slides simple because “if they are reading your slides, they aren’t listening to you.”
  • Calls to action/actionable advice. Along the way, Enza provided great advice on what you can and should do. This is the entire purpose of the presentation: to influence a person or group to take action on your behalf. They need to know what’s being asked and what’s in it for them. Also, don’t forget that lessons learned can be just as valuable as advice on how to do things, underlining the point that we all make mistakes but can learn and pivot accordingly.

If you attended the event either in person or virtually and want to rewatch, or you missed this fantastic talk and now must see it, note that all attendees received an email detailing access to the digital platform to view conference content, sponsors, and bonus video and research content. Access to the platform will be available to all attendees through November 15, 2024. Email events@forrester.com if you have any issues with access. Now, go chart a course to your own Divine Presentation!