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Talk review: Renny Gleeson: 404, the story of a page not found

Category:Storytelling Tags : 

As a public speaker, it is good to look at how the great ones are doing it. You can learn how they move. Learn how they craft their story. Learn how they inspire their audience. Here you can learn from Renny Gleeson.

Renny Gleeson: 404, the story of a page not found

This talk is from 2012. That might seem old., but it’s on a topic a lot of marketers will understand. Especially those in SEO: the 404 page. In this talk, Renny Gleeson discusses the 404 page and how it’s ‘history’ changed.

Watch the entire talk (only 4 minutes) here:

There are a few things I’d like to highlight about this talk.

The message

The topic of a 404-page may seem empty. And the “solution” he shows is quite simple. So what makes this talk ‘special’? It’s the message behind the talk. The message that only comes at the end of the talk: opportunities. You can handle a 404 page in two ways: as a mistake or as an opportunity. Gleeson goes for the latter.

The structure

Gleeson sets a very clear structure for his presentation. Even though it’s only four minutes long. He sets the problem. He makes sure people ‘feel’ the problem. He explains the problem. And he shows the solution. It’s a story on its own.

The body language

Gleeson is calm and controlled in his talk, which comforts the audience. At the same time, he can be very visual. When he explains the ‘404-feeling’ (around the 2-minute mark), he shows the feeling, which is very good. He uses his hands to explain what he is talking about.

The one thing that does annoy a little, is that he looks back at the screen several times. A bit too much to be honest.

The humor

In his talk, Gleeson explains the problem of the 404 with a lot of humor. He uses analogies, connects the 4xx errors to sex and shows timing when he reacts to a video he shows. Having humor is of high importance in a talk. But you shouldn’t overdo it. Gleeson is on the edge here of trying to be too funny, but he just stays away from being annoying.

How did he do?

Even though I liked the talk, I don’t think Gleeson delivered a perfect talk here (if there is such a thing). As mentioned above, the danger of trying to be too funny is there. One or two jokes or analogies he could have left out. And he looks behind him at the screen quite often, which is a bad idea when it comes to body language. But in the end, the talk works. I would say because of the powerful message in the end.

Your talk

If you want, we can review your talk as well (not for publishing 😉 ). Want to have your talk reviewed? You can! It’s one of the options in the personal speaker plan. We have more examples of great speakers in our email series!

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