Lines To Think Of When You Need To Vent

The link below contains a list of lines that only makes sense if you've read my LinkedIn post of August 17, 2018 entitled A Salute to The Science of Smiling and Solving.

In it, I talk about how, in the events industry, we NEVER can say what we really think when a client or delegate or supplier or sponsor causes us stress.

We are all well-versed in what I call the Science of Smiling and Solving. But if you want help finding something to THINK that can help make you feel better, the following list is my gift to you!


He wasn’t the stand-out speaker because he was the highest-ranking person in the room. Nor was he the stand-out speaker because he knew his subject matter better than anyone else (the Archbishop of Canterbury was right there in the room). And he wasn’t the stand-out speaker because he was some famous celebrity that everyone in the room was excited to hear from. Most had never seen or heard of him.

Reverend Michael Curry stood out because he did several things that it would be awesome if more speakers were able to do at our events.


I love statistics.

Which is a surprise because, at school, my statistics teacher told me I was average which, when you think about it, was mean.

Thank you. A little maths joke, there.

Also, as far as my work is concerned, I’m a words kind of guy but whilst it IS true that 43.7% of all statistics are simply made up on the spot, they also can illuminate … and illustrate … and instigate intriguing conversations.

So I present below a series of conference and event related statistics which I hope will illuminate, illustrate and instigate intriguing conversations.

Despite the fact that they fall within the 43.7%.

Enjoy. There’s a 94.3% chance that you will.



The percentage chance delegates are listening to what a speaker is saying when they put up a PowerPoint slide with eight new bullet-points on it.

Also, the percentage chance delegates are listening to what a speaker is saying when they put up a PowerPoint slide with long paragraphs of content on them.

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Also, the percentage chance delegates are listening to what a speaker is saying when they put up a PowerPoint slide with a very large and detailed table, graph or flow-chart saying, “You probably can’t read this up the back”.

Also, the percentage chance delegates are listening to what a speaker is saying when they put up a PowerPoint slide and read its contents word-for-word.

Also, the percentage chance  … You get my drift? PowerPoint is a fabulous presentation tool … but when it is misused it can be an almost total distraction.


The percentage chance at a networking function that the NEXT glass of wine will be the one that makes you charming enough to make some fantastic new business contacts.


The number of people at a conference that are delighted when they see all the PowerPoint slides have used the same template.

That one person would be either the Brand Manager or the Marketing Manager. Everyone else will simply be frustrated at how boringly similar all the slides are looking.

Seriously, if your brand is SO unmemorable that you feel you need to remind an audience what it is on EVERY single slide, then it’s not a template you are needing.

If you truly want people to learn at your conference you’ll certainly understand the value of visual variety on the big screen.


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The average number of presentations at a conference in which the presenter will refer to the Charles Darwin quote: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change”.

Yes, there is a certain irony in people using the same 160-year-old quote to illustrate how important change is to surviving.


The number of people on any conference committee of six or more people who are either superfluous or slowing your decision-making down. Identify these people and remove them.

ALSO, the number of conference delegates still posting photos on the Conference App’s Social Feed on Day Three of any conference.

ALSO, the seemingly industry-standard number of cocktail tables per 100 conference delegates in an Exhibition Hall or Ballroom Lobby  that are available to eat at AND place dirty plates on during a conference lunch.


The maximum number of people you should have on a panel session at a conference.

Related Statistics:

10 – minimum minutes per panelist you should have for a panel. This doesn’t mean each panelist should speak for 10 minutes [see below for why not]. It simply means, if you have three people on a panel, have it run for at least 30 minutes to allow enough input from each person.

0 – the maximum number of minutes a panelist should be allowed to give a presentation in. The beauty and benefit of a panel is that it gives delegates a break from listening to presentations. Asking panelists to present for even five or ten minutes each turns a panel into a series of presentations … which was the very thing the panel was trying to avoid.

Yes ... one of my biggest conference bugbears is the rampant misuse of the word 'panel'!


The number of people, usually lonely middle-aged to older gentlemen, who suss out where in the pre-dinner drinks area the finger-food trays are entering from and plant themselves there.


The average number of hours per day a conference delegate is inside a conference room listening to someone speak. Importantly, this is more than the average number of hours per day a conference delegate spends at a conference meal.

So why does it seem way more time, effort and resources are devoted to ensuring the high quality of what is being served at meals?

Things like the presentation skills of your speakers, the professionalism of your MC, the technical prowess of your AV team … these all determine the quality of what is being served INSIDE the conference room … and they should be at least as important to your event as the choice of menu, wine and banquet room decorations.


The percentage of amazing things shown in a “Next Year’s Conference Destination” video that the delegates will get to see when they attend the actual conference the next year.


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The percentage of time in a conference buffet line you will arrive at the bain-marie to find just two satay sticks in it (which happens to be exactly the number you were wanting to eat) ... and now you have to quickly decide whether you take both and satisfy yourself, or just one, enabling the person behind to have one as well ... and then you realise that if you do that, the person behind won't be aware that you really wanted two and therefore won't appreciate how nice an act you were performing ... and, hey! ... who are they to jump to such conclusions about how selfless or not you have been??!! ... Damn them! ... Why don't you just have the last two and Mr Quick-To-Judge behind you can just make do with none! Hah! There. You now have your two satay sticks and are off to find a place to sit ... but let's take one last, smug look back at Mr No Satay Sticks as you go and ... Wait! Wha?? ... Is that a whole NEW tray of fresh satay sticks that has just arrived??? Damn! Cos you'd REALLY wanted three.


The percentage of time a sponsor video, shown as part of a sponsor’s presentation or as a “Welcome Back To The Conference Room” video, helps enhance a sponsor’s message.

Just in case this point is unclear, that is a VERY poor return on time. Discourage sponsors from showing their promo videos. They usually make their sponsor spot run over time, they repeat things the sponsor already said and no-one watches them anyway.



The average number of centimetres MORE THAN is ideal that a conference presenter stands away from a lectern microphone. Curiously, this number INCREASES as the number of decibels the speaker emits DECREASES.


It can also work in reverse, where the closer to the microphone the speaker's mouth is, the more they tend to shout.

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Maximum number of words that should be allowed in any conference presentation title. Any more than that and it can be argued that reading the title IS a conference presentation.

The same word-limit should apply to Speaker’s Job Titles. And it should always be remembered that, the more words in your job title, the less chance you understand what it is you do.


The percentage of speakers at conferences who, when stepping up to a lectern with two microphones attached to it, peels one to the side for them to talk directly into.

Related Statistic:

100 – the percentage of AV staff who grimace when that happens.


The percentage chance at least one Acceptance Speech at an awards night forgets to mention someone really, really important.

This number increases by 5% for each hour later in the program you get.



The percentage of any given conference break that a delegate spends in queues.

This percentage zooms to 74% if they are queuing for a barista-made coffee.

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The percentage of time a video piece fails to play (or plays without sound) at a critical time in a conference program.

Curiously, this increases to 43% if a rehearsal was held minutes earlier where everything worked well.


The percentage of Name Tags hung on lanyards with a single clasp that will be hanging blank-face forward at any one time.

Related statistic:

83 - The percentage of times this will happen when you are talking to someone whose name you know you know but can’t remember at that moment.


The percentage of conference delegates that ask for special dietary requirements who actually medically need special dietary requirements.

The rest of you, come on, be honest. Ten years’ ago you thought ‘Gluten’ was the name of the President of Russia.


The percentage chance of something spilling on your top during the Morning Tea, Afternoon Tea or Lunch break.

This increases to 63% if you are speaking directly after the break.

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The percentage of exhibitors at any event who complain that they are disappointed with the amount of foot traffic their exhibition booth attracted.

Related Statistic:

100 – the percentage of these exhibition booths that featured at least two of the following:

  • a brochure stand

  • a high-table with business cards, some old branded stress balls and a jar of Cadbury’s favourites

  • a human catching up on their emails.


The percentage chance that the one spelling mistake in 700 name badges or in the 60-page conference handbook is the name of the major sponsor, the CEO or the delegate who suffered from the one spelling mistake made at LAST year’s event.


The percentage of conference delegates who volunteer to ask the first question in a Q&A Session that have a thick accent of some sort.


The percentage of delegates in ANY conference group who are, by definition, below average. Keep that in mind when preparing your presentations.


The percentage chance that a Politician who has been booked to deliver a speech at your conference, will be a last-minute no-show.  This rises to 67% if they are in Cabinet.

And 100% if they haven't checked their naturalisation papers thoroughly.

The chance that they will be forced to resign within 12 months of speaking at your event is 16%.

The chance of a politician saying anything that actually matters in real life … 4%.


The percentage of all delegates who, when entering the conference room and encountering a completely empty row of seats, will plop themselves down on the aisle one, forming a human barricade that makes the seating process take twice the time it otherwise should.


The percentage of all conference speakers who, when their PowerPoint slide doesn’t advance as expected, will hit the advance button on the remote clicker seven times in panic, taking the delegates on an express journey to their Thank-You Slide.


The percentage of sponsor presentations at a conference that, through their being poorly-delivered or simply uninteresting to listen to, actually diminish the value of the sponsor’s brand.

Hey, sponsors! I’m not good at tinkering with things under the hood of my car, so I don’t do it because it will just make a bigger mess. If you’re not good at presenting to a conference audience, don’t do it either.

There are many ways to gain great recognition as a sponsor. Showing people that you aren't a good presenter is definitely not one of them.


The percentage of things you're told at a conference by a speaker, AV person, client or venue person that will “Take just five minutes” that take longer than just five minutes.


The percentage of the above statistics that were made up by me (but I assure you, they are probably not that far off the mark).

If you have any more you'd like to add, please feel free to send them through.

Darren Isenberg is one of Australia’s best-loved Corporate MC’s and Speakers.

Check out his website at