Are Affiliate Summit Speakers Secretly Rating YOU? – By David Vogelpohl

by Jenae Reid on July 18, 2017


If you’ve been to Affiliate Summit, you’re probably familiar with the rating cards handed out during each session. These cards offer an opportunity to provide feedback to Affiliate Summit speakers; however, did you know there’s a secret rating system Affiliate Summit speakers use to rate YOU?

Don’t worry. This secret rating system isn’t the product of an Affiliate Summit speaker’s cabal chanting in a circle in a Manhattan bar, but rather, is based on the simple question, “Is the audience actively listening?”

Active listening as an audience member is an important part of every presentation. The energy you provide to a speaker through active listening can have a material impact on the quality of the presentation and the content itself.

In March of 2017, I was attending a series of events during WP Engine’s “All Hands Week.” This is a week of company-wide presentations that WP Engine holds twice a year to help preserve culture across our global offices.

During these presentations (ranging from dozens to hundreds of people), I practiced active listening as an audience member. I made eye contact with the speaker, I laughed at their jokes, and I nodded my head in agreement as the speaker made a point.

Sometimes, I didn’t understand a point someone was making, but I still smiled, I still kept eye contact, and I still nodded in agreement.

Then a funny thing happened. Multiple people, who were speaking during these presentations, started coming up to me to compliment my “audience skills.” They talked about how when they got nervous, they would look at me as an anchor point to stay strong and keep going.

They used my eye contact and head nodding to maintain confidence that they used to deliver a better presentation. My presence in the audience actually made these presentations BETTER. Woah.

As you think about the sessions you’ll attend during Affiliate Summit East, think about how you can use active listening to help speakers deliver stronger presentations and better content for you.

A good audience member maintains eye contact with the speaker and shows an engaged “listening face.” A “listening face” is a series of expressions you can use to show a speaker that you’re following what they’re saying (agreement, curiosity, etc.).

By following the rules of active listening, you allow speakers to maintain a conversational approach with their presentations, allowing them to deliver better content for you. That’s right, your role as an audience member directly impacts the quality of the panels you attend.

Fiddling with your phone, staring blankly into space, or a hushed conversation with your neighbor are all ingredients to sucking energy from a presentation and leaving the speaker dangling in the wind.

Do your part during the upcoming Affiliate Summit East by being a good audience member engaged in active listening. The energy and support you show to a speaker will help make sure everyone gets the most out of their time at Affiliate Summit.


David Vogelpohl is VP Web Strategy at WP Engine, a digital experience platform for WordPress.

This article appeared in issue 39 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in July 2017.

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