This year’s Eurovision Song Contest did not disappoint with acts that typified the competition in all its glory.
My personal favourite was Cezar from Romania who has to be seen, or rather heard, to be believed – it was a zany cross between pop, opera and Dracula. Check it out if you are interested, and listen for the change in pitch.
This kind of performance is not recommended for presenters, and neither are the costume reveals, but there are three things we can learn from the contestants.
1. Sex up your message
When we coach people on presenting we always suggest they make their messages sexy, so they are more memorable and engaging.
Recently, we did some work with a client who had a major message around expanding mobile technology, in order to allow access to everyone regardless of location and age. He changed his message to ‘Your mother can Skype’.
In this year’s Eurovision, the one country that absolutely nailed this ‘sexy message’ concept was Greece with their song Alcohol is Free. It was a lesson on how to win your audience over and get their attention quickly. Mind you, the bagpipes were a bit confusing.
2. Do something unusual
Sometimes, doing something unusual in your presentation can ensure it is memorable.
Last week a client shared with me a presentation that he had to deliver. He only had one minute and he wanted to get across the point that the company’s installations did not take very long.
He came on stage and said ‘I will not take up much of your time’ and then stood there for a minute not saying a word while the projection of a ticking clock was behind him. After a minute watching the ticking clock the words came up: ‘That is how long one of our installations take.’
He then thanked the audience and walked off the stage to a standing ovation. Obviously, you need to make sure that your something unusual is appropriate and relevant.
In looking for something unusual in Eurovision I must admit I was spoilt for choice, but I could not go past the Ukraine entrant who was carried on stage by Igor, the tallest man in the US. I must admit I am not sure of its relevance (although the song was titled Gravity) but it was unusual and therefore achieves the purpose of being memorable.
3. Don’t be lazy
When we do a lot of presentations, and taking into account the added pressures of time, we can become a bit lazy.
It’s important to understand that every time you do a presentation people are judging you. They are judging you on whether you will be a good leader or if they can do business with you.
Every presentation is an opportunity to sell yourself, your message or your company.
The last two years I get the feeling that the UK have become a bit lazy. Last year’s entrant was Engelbert Humperdinck and this year it was Bonnie Tyler – both already well-established acts. Bonnie Tyler sang a good song, but it was certainly no Total Eclipse of the Heart.
Give one of these tips a go the next time you present, but maybe leave the smoke machines behind.