Presenter Profile: Graham Brown Martin

Graham Brown Martin, is a natural presenter. From a very young age, he was already interviewing passengers on his parents’ cab pretending he was a TV presenter. However TV presenting was not going to be his focus and even though in the 90’s he presented for MTV Alternative Nation where he interviewed music icons from U2 to Fall’s Mark E. Smith, Graham Brown-Martin opted for conference presenting and its advantages he created.

His career as a presenter started unofficially for Research Machine, presenting computing technology at industry shows, such as the very first BETT in January 1985; he then went on presenting for the companies he founded.

Even though he enjoyed TV presenting he believes that “When you are presenting for television you don’t control the journey. While when you are talking at a conference you present your own thoughts and impart knowledge, TV presenting is quite controlled: you are not allowed to have an opinion. I think as a presenter now you’ve got to engage,
challenge and be prepared to accept response.”

In his presenting, innovation and opinionated ideas are conveyed also to a public who is not yet ready to hear. In fact when managing director of Electronic Sound & Pictures he gave in the mid 90’s a key note at MIDEM demonstrating on how we could move audio from one computer to another over a telephone wire, and have record collection shared with friends, creating disagreement among music industry professionals.

At Learning Without Frontiers his style of presenting has been embracing a continuous interchange between the audience and the speakers, deliberately provoking on opinions he agrees with in order to create conversation and debate, and surprising the audience by changing direction.

“It’s not good enough to just stand up there and lecture, no one wants to hear that anymore. One way stream, a one way interchange style of presenting is now dead”,

Learning Without Frontiers was one of the first conference organizations that video edited and put the content online, two years before TED introduced it: “So why would people come to a conference if it will be online? Because we don’t do broadcast”, it is not possible to have the whole conference experience online. When giving a key note or preparing a complete conference program he focuses on the mood he wants to impart, so for him “It is a kind of deejaying, you are taking the mood and you are moving it around; for example at LWF this year we had a whole conference going in one direction and then we changed it. It’s all about taking your audience on a journey of emotions, because what you are trying to do when you are presenting is to get people to engage, think and ask questions. What you don’t want is to have an audience that all agree with you: that is a boring audience”.