Plan Your Next Event Like the Academy Awards

The Academy Awards last night tried (with limited success) to eliminate the laundry list style of acceptance speeches where the winners rattle off dozens of names of people we’ve never heard of including their hair-dresser and dog-walker.

Hearing someone recite a list is boring, even if your name appears somewhere on it. Much more memorable was Sandra Bullock’s story about her mom who wouldn’t let her ride in cars with boys and made her practice acting every day.

Yet, event planners and corporate communicators are still designing events that have more to do with letting people talk than they do with communicating to an audience.

For your next corporate event, why not take two lessons from the Oscars to design something more engaging.

First, use video. The short clips of films interspersed throughout the awards show kept people’s interest and reminded the audience what it was that they were there to celebrate. But don’t think you need the special effects of Avatar for your event. Overreaching on a limited budget will end up looking cheesy.

Instead, follow television’s example. Reality shows are flooding the airwaves because they are cheap to make and so is a short documentary-style video about your company’s operations. Have it produced by someone with network TV experience and it will look like it was on last night’s news.

Secondly, develop a corporate narrative and teach your spokesperson to tell stories. A long list of corporate achievements will not have anywhere near the impact as a personal story of accomplishment. Yes, there are people to be thanked but that’s what banners and brochures are for,

Telling stories is a way to connect with people. It provides a memorable and jargon-free way to let an audience know what you do. And a good story will be remembered long after your so-called “world-class achievements” are forgotten.

In a nutshell, you can make your event more memorable if you treat it like a television show rather than a corporate soapbox.

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Filed under Communication, Messaging, Public Speaking

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