Six More Ways to Replace Presentations with Engagements

Posted on January 24, 2011


If you acknowledge the impending demise of the conventional “presentation,” which admittedly is a daunting leap for veteran trainers and new-business teams, you will want to continue to develop your skills as an engagement master, rather than presenter. I offered half a dozen steps you might take in The Death of the Presentation, a number of which related to turning over large swaths of your presentation to your audience, just as marketers have turned over control of their brands to consumers.  If you’re ready to extend your engagement expertise, here are six more truths (formerly “tips”) that you might consider incorporating into your engagements with employees, clients, prospects and public audiences:

  • Conduct your engagement session from a position in the audience, rather from a stage or front-of-the-room position.  You job will be to guide the presentation, not to deliver a script.  Rather than being the tow-truck driver, you’re one of the team members pushing your communication vehicle forward.
  • For employee orientations or training, get out of the conference room and onto the plant floor, into the customer’s facility and/or on the road to place people in the environments to which you are orienting them.  Similarly, for  media training, carry it out in a local TV studio and invite a local anchor to contribute to a section of the training.
  • Bring in guest stars to engage with the audience.  Your guest could be a customer who can shed important light on a service issue or who has used your company’s product or service in ways you hadn’t imagined.  Alternatively, it could be a real business star or community personality who can enlighten your audience about anything from your company’s reputation to how to advance in business.
  • Transform the Q&A session into a community forum.  Let one audience member pose a question and seek an expert on that topic in the audience who can offer an initial answer (which you may subsequently supplement), then go to another audience member for another question.  In this way, your audience members learn to rely on community for support, not just on you.
  • Video the Q&A session and post it or a transcript on the intranet of your audience’s organization as a video community forum.  Enable colleagues to make subsequent comments or video responses, encouraging extended engagement.
  • After an internal company session, send your audience members out into the enterprise as reporters (equipped with cell or Flip video cameras ) to gather information on current problems, attitudes, triumphs or innovations that supplement the topics and themes of your engagement session.  Then post and tweet their written and/or video reports.

Here’s to a happy engagement and a wedding of minds.