Let’s talk comedy.
I’ve been doing shtick (that’s what my people call a certain kind of corny humor) for as long as I can remember. Some people find it funny, others not so much. But whatever you think of the Jeff-is-funny-ometer scale I’ve also been doing professional presentations for a very long time as well as performing on TV and radio, and I can tell you that both my experience and “the book” say the same thing: the first thing you do when you start a presentation is break the ice with a joke.
The joke doesn’t even have to be any good. Kim Gjerstad‘s joke about never having stood in for somebody from the White House isn’t great, and you’ll hear only a couple of giggles as he delivers it. But throwing it in was the right choice; especially when you aren’t sure you’ll be able to connect with your audience you want to reach out in other ways. Kim Gjerstad, a French-Canadian software developer, was giving a speech in English to a bunch of geeks at WordCamp Europe, where the native languages of his WordPress-programmer audience surely ran the gamut:
There wasn’t a whole lot to connect on naturally there, and to make matters worse Gjerstad was a last-minute fill-in and doing what amounted to a marketing job for his software, MailPoet. And make no mistake: all presentations are marketing jobs.
So: point #1 in 360 Degree Marketing is this: make a connection.
Simple? Not always. Kim Gjerstad handled it perfectly, but if you aren’t sure you’d know how to start a presentation to a bunch of disparately-inclined strangers, we can help. Contact The Answer Guy here.