Making the Stage your World

If it is true, as so often said, that people fear public speaking more than death itself, we might expect to see an unusual suicide rate among corporate executives.  But that isn’t the case.  So, why not?

I think companies like ours can take some credit.  We work hard to ensure that presenters on stage appear comfortable and engaging, and are able to hold the audience’s attention for however long they speak.  It’s critical to find time for rehearsal, reduce distractions and help focus the speaker on the task at hand.  Then we can find the appropriate vocal tone, tempo and natural gestures that will make that speaker most effective.

Our ultimate promise to clients is this: we will never let you look like a fool in public. That’s not unlike the promise a theatrical director makes to his actors.  The director’s task is to bring the production to life.  Though audiences may question the play, or even the casting, they shouldn’t fault the performance.

Being There

While communication technology changes with the times, the times cannot alter the fact that nothing replaces actually “being there.” What has changed is the art of being there.

We have been hearing for years about how Hollywood has been gearing up for 3D out of necessity to keep the movie-going experience relevant. The success of the film Avatar is heavily dependent upon its 3D immersive experience,  though for many 3D may still seem gimmicky.

Avatar succeeds by not only telling you a story about another world, but also putting you in that world.  This heightened sense of immersion allows you to feel the experience as if you were a character, adding a deeper element to the storyline.

Immersion: humans clamor for it.   Tweets, and views and clicks  contribute part of the story, but we want more. We no longer want to observe the show, we want to be in the show.

Living the Experience

The Vancouver Olympics ended on a glorious note last night.  As in the opening ceremonies, the audience, covered in their white ponchos, became part of the canvas.  And for those of us in the “business,” who knew someone was wrong when the fourth leg of the cauldron never materialized on opening night, the “do-over” was simply brilliant.  It was live, and we all experienced it as those present in Vancouver did. It was a show.  It was an event.

Today’s business communication leaders can learn from this. If you need to create an indelible impression on your audience you need to immerse them in it.  You need to invite them in and not be ashamed when you make a mistake. They are watching you as you watch them.  Don’t be afraid of making it a show.  They are clamoring for it.  All the world, after all, is a stage.