When you are creating drama, always put story first. Story needs to be everywhere in your program. If you are putting on an event, and you are having your CEO speak, your Board members speak, your volunteers speak; you need to think about what story that each of them is trying to tell. There needs to be a story component into all of their remarks. Remarks without a clear beginning middle and end do not hold interest. Remarks need to catch the audience off-guard, they need to be dynamic, and they need to get people listening.
The way to do this is through thinking of each speech as painting a picture for the audience. Your speakers need to look at their speech like they were telling a story to a room full of kindergartners. What I mean by this is that it needs to have ups and downs, it needs to have intrigue, and it needs to constantly keep their attention.
Too often, organizations forget this. They have become sedentary. They age like a bad wine and they stick only with what has worked in the past. They know that this is what the CEO wants to say, and there is no reason they should waver from that. Or they have chosen to place technical writing over heart and emotion. This is not the best decision, if I may speak freely
Words matter in marketing
No matter what the event is, words matter. Your event is being filmed, live tweeted, and broadcast to every person in that science. And every person in that audience has a ton of followers on their social media platforms. You can no longer think that your event is going to stay locked away and kept secret in those closed doors of the banquet hall. Everything you do is going to be scrutinized. A boring presentation is going to lose people. They won’t fall asleep; they will turn to their phones. And when they turn to their phones, or their tablets, you have no control over what they are going to say.
So, if you are a CEO, and you think you need to stick to the same speech, then you need to think again. If you are doing an awards show and you just want to run though the names of winners and say the same thing that’s been said, and go through the same show of false thanks that has always been done before, then you must prepare for the potential backlash. Even if it doesn’t show up on your social media feed, it’s going to live forever on your audience members phone. And when they look back, they will remember how bored they were. And boom, you’ve lost a customer, a donor, a fan, and a lifelong supporter.
Bring in performance
Another way to consider how you can bring in performance is to tie it into who you are as an organization. If your whole thing is early 1776 American History, bring that performance moment into it. Have a choir who does old historical songs. Have a person sing old songs of American folklore. Bring people back in time. What this means is, don’t shy away from what your business is about.
Own who you are, even if it super kitschy. If you’re an environmental organization, have actors perform stories about what is happening to your waterways. If you’re an association, focused on building and construction, bring on actors to perform monologues that profile what it means to build something. This was done in the musical Working, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for your organization.
What performance does is it surprises people. It gets them out of their comfort zone and has them leaning in their seats. It is easy for organizations to put on events and think that these events have nothing to do with theatrics, nothing to do with story, and nothing to do with drama. But this kind of thinking doesn’t really hold up anymore. Truth be told, I don’t think it ever held up.