Gartner’s Whit Andrews previews “Everyone is in the Front Row and in the Back Row – The Hidden Joys and Risks of Virtual Speaking”

Whit Andrews is VP, Distinguished Analyst, at Gartner Inc., where for more than 20 years he has advised CIOs and other technology leaders on the effective uses of technologies including artificial intelligence. In 2020 and 2021, as chair of Symposium Americas he had the challenge of moving an enormous Orlando tech conference online — while also advising clients how they should make their own adaptations to an era of online and hybrid speaking and leading.

Whit’s abstract of what he will present: Delivering presentations to virtual rooms accelerated markedly in 2020 and 2021 and speaking will never be the same. Go beyond “look up at the camera!” to imagine how addressing a group can be even more engaging and interesting – but in novel ways that force a reimagining of the speaker-audience axis.

About Whit Andrews

In 23 years at Gartner, Whit Andrews has delivered countless professional presentations but he has also taken classes in improv comedy to improve his delivery. He has been active at a local storytelling festival where he won best storytelling and best overall. He was chairman of Gartner’s Americas Symposium from 2019 to 2021 — one year when the event was held in its traditional format as an enormous tech conference at Orlando’s Disney hotels and two years where the event had to be reorganized and rethought as a 100% online event.

He lives in Holyoke Massachusetts and will join us from a former garment storage room on in his house’s third floor. “It’s my office. I love it,” he says. 

Backstory: Why This Event Has a New Name

Changing the name of any business or nonprofit venture is often a branding disaster. For the organizers of this event, changing the name of this event so close to the date of the event is unfortunate, but doesn’t change the underlying value of the event itself.

We wouldn’t be doing it if we had not received a couple of letters from the lawyers at a well-known public speaking and professional development organization (WKPSPDO) insisting that we remove all references to their brand except for this disclaimer. Including the letters “T” and “M” in the name of the event and the web address. Including any reference to the WKPSPDO clubs sponsoring this event with volunteer labor.

EVV CON, as we’re calling it now, was never an official WKPSPDO event, and we always tried to make that clear. WKPSPDO may have had legitimate concerns about making it more clear, about the money we were collecting to cover event expenses, and about how that money was being managed. If they had been willing to work with us, I think we could have found a better solution.

Ultimately, I realized I was wasting my time communicating with their lawyers. So with the magic of search-and-replace, all mentions of WKPSPDO’s real brand name disappeared from the text of this website.

The sad thing is one of the main purpose of the event was to publicize the value of WKPSPDO, demonstrate the value of the program in this virtual speaking era, and provide a marketing and recruiting opportunity for the participating clubs. That becomes harder when we can’t mention the clubs or link to their websites.


The biggest value of any event like this is bringing people together in real-time. There will be opportunities for participating WKPSPDO clubs to promote themselves during the event and showcase the talent of their speakers. This dustup is a distraction, but a minor one in the grand scheme of things.

Yours in WKPSPDO,

David F. Carr, Distinguished [Brand Name Omitted]

Recruiting Tech Tips Speakers for EVV CON 2022

You’re invited to apply to be part of the Tech Tips program at EVV CON 2022. This was one of the most popular sessions at our last event, and Lois Margolin will once again serve as the master of ceremonies.

To apply, write to and include:

  • Your topic
  • Why you are the right person to present it
  • Video showing your skill as a virtual presenter. Ideally, this would be a short video clip of you addressing your chosen topic

These are tight 3-5 minute tutorials on a technology or technique for presenting online. If accepted, you’ll be expected to join us for a practice session to be sure you can say what you want to say within that time — mics will be cut at 5 minutes to keep the program moving!

Watch the replay of Tech Tips from EVV CON 2021.