No need to explain “death by powerpoint” as most of you have joined a conference where presenter after presenter gets on stage and goes through their slides. Now – I have to say that I love Powerpoint and believe it is one the most powerful tools for delivering a message to an audience. However, very few people use it as a tool to convey their message. Instead it is most often used as a place to write down the notes, or the messages, that they want to say and there they are… a giant 3X5 notecard on the screen to read from. Okay so do this for a few hours and you are looking for a pointed objective to relieve the pain. Well, this story is about how we recently broke up the monotony at a partner conference.
To set the stage, the audience at this conference include several hundred selling partners from all over Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). The usual scene included a sequence of presentations – in our case presentations by some of our partners. Just a few weeks before the event I posed a new idea – instead of having 4 of our guests present lets change up the stage and host a talk show, with a desk, music, a dialog with the guest, blah, blah … just like David Letterman! Okay, a bit of apprehension at first, but then “buy in” and we all got behind it.
The local team put together an excellent intro music and video, arranged a backdrop on the stage that provided a scene overlooking Cape Town at night, and arranged the stage with crisp looking couches and a chair for the host – me! Now, I have to warn you that I just simply love these kind of gigs. I descr
ibe them as “show grams” – not meetings, not power points, … “SHOWGRAMS!”
The results, in the EMEA Presidents words, “Brilliant”. Countless attendees came to me and others afterwords to say how much they enjoyed the change up and the content. Now, the key to me is that its all in the presentation and the management of the scene. Letterman would be pretty boring without some levity, and even worse if he didn’t stir it up a bit with his guests. More important, typically by this time of the day the audience is fading. Not at this one though – people were visibly riveted to what was taking place on stage!
So, I contend – consider your next big customer or partner event not as a series of presentations, but as a SHOWGRAM! Train you speakers to be showman (or show ladies) and make it exciting for the audience so it is memorable. For now, I am preparing for show number 2 in the Americas!