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Updated: Aug 22, 2022

As another year of summits, conferences and un-conferences comes to an end, it’s time for me to reflect on what I’ve learned.  And for the most part what I’ve learned is that speakers need to stop relying on received wisdom and tired old clichés and start delivering genuine insights.  Therefore, dear reader, I present to you my list of keynote clichés marketers must avoid in 2019!

1. “Look around the MRT, see?  EVERYONE is on a smartphone!"

Wow!  You’re right, I’d never noticed before, I was probably too busy looking at my smartphone, but what an incredible observation, you’ve blown my mind, this is completely new information, thank you for bringing it to my attention, I don’t know how I’d missed this in the 11 years since the iPhone was launched, you must be some kind of visionary genius!  Now, what was your point?

2. "Consumers have the attention span of a goldfish”

Still?  Really?  In the age of Netflix binges, 3-hour Marvel movies and all-night gaming sessions you’re still going with this?  Sure, okay, but if you ever change your mind, read this:

3. “It’s all about storytelling”

As a purveyor of content strategy and storytelling solutions I am actually inclined to agree with this one but what does it mean in the context of your speech about pixel tracking, programmatic advertising or e-commerce solutions?  Tip: If you’re going to mention storytelling, have a relevant story to tell.

4. "As humans, we’re hardwired to tell stories.”

Are we though?  And if so, why are you charging the audience a S$1,000 to learn about something they’re already hardwired for? (N.B. is almost always accompanied by this image...)

5. “82% of all internet traffic will be video by 2022”

A late entry since its release in late-November, this oft-quoted statistic from Cisco’s excellent Visual Networking Index, is used by speakers to imply that 82% of Internet users are spending 82% of the their time watching video, which makes up 82% of all the content on the Internet.  This is not the case.  Traffic is measured by the volume of data and video has more volume than any other kind of content.  It’s like saying your shopping is 82% rice and potatoes, simply because they have the greatest volume, but that doesn’t mean 82% of your meals are rice and potatoes.  Oh, and of that video traffic, 25% is live including one-to-one conversations and surveillance streams, which are hardly a marketing opportunity (or is it?).

In all seriousness though; speaking is an incredible opportunity to achieve maximum engagement with a highly targeted audience but it is your job to create that engagement through compelling stories, unique insights and passionate delivery.  If you’re looking for a better story to tell or a better way to tell it, one that will delight audiences and deliver real value, then I’d like to help.  

That's what I do at Moore’s Lore Media - Content Strategy & Storytelling Solutions; I help people and organisations define their narrative and share it with the world online, on screen and on stage.  Find out more at or drop me a comment below.

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