Thursday, September 29, 2011

What Presenters Can Learn from Baseball...

"But then...something happens...and in that moment--awesome or lousy--
you are living something you will never forget, something that jumps out of the toneless roar of day-to-day life."                                                                        Joe Posnanski, Sports Writer

The quote above was from a blog post about baseball, and how last night was one of the most memorable nights in recent memory--with 4 teams tied for 2 different Wild Cards for the Playoffs.  Posnanski acknowledged that--yes--baseball is boring…but it is in the moments where the unexpected happens (pitcher blows lead in bottom of the 9th; runner gives his all to 1st base on sure-out grounder--despite not needing to win the game (already clinched playoffs); pitcher shakes-off 4+ signals from the catcher, etc.) that makes it stand out  (jump out!) for us. 

For me--Posnanski's point also makes the case that Presenters need to give their audiences the unexpected…jar them from their "normal" expectations…That's what helps make things memorable:

*  If every presentation seems to start off with a bio about the presenter and a ton of slides with lots and lots of text--do something unexpected!

*  If the audience expects the Presenter to do all of the work (talking)--do something unexpected!  Get audiene INVOLVED!

*  If audience expects Presenter to be at Podium (or in front of room)--do something unexpected!

*  If audience expects Presenter to handle the summary of key "takeways"--do something unexpected!  

So, let's commit to breaking out of the "toneless roar of day-to-day" presentations!  Consider the argument shared in a 2009 article by Shumpeter in The Economist: "There is no long-term comparative advantage in being forgettable."