Now, more than ever, it’s important to not just speak, but speak well, and that often means incorporating an element of entertainment. After all, when our communications are not face-to-face, it’s a whole lot more difficult to hold the attention of those we are presenting to groups. Consider the following scenarios that might happen during a virtual conversation:
- The person is distracted by emails.Imagine being face-to-face and having the person you are speaking with look away to read a text or email while you are in midsentence.
- The person is distracted by stray tasks.Imagine being face-to-face and having the person you are speaking with look away at a website or document while you are in midsentence.
- The person doesn’t have his or her camera on.Imagine being face-to-face and having the person you are speaking to retreat behind a wall while you are in midsentence.
It’s no wonder consultants, teachers and trainers are struggling to hold the attention of their audiences. When I first began as a trainer, my task was to teach a two-day class in the wonders of flood insurance to claims adjusters, actuaries, and underwriters. I was bound and determined to breathe some life, and interest, into one of the most lifeless and uninteresting topics you could be saddled with. More than once, I was called into my manager’s office and greeted with what I used to call, “the look.” For the record, “the look” was the frustrated expression I would see on my manager’s face when she would ask, “Did you really do ________ at your last training session?!”
In fairness to my manager, I did push the envelope a bit, but in fairness to me, I was simply trying to insert as much energy and creativity into a dry, lifeless topic as I could possibly muster. Looking back on those conversations, I can honestly say I wasn’t on the wrong track; I was just out of balance a bit.
As long as you aren’t sacrificing the time or complexity of the information you are delivering, what’s wrong with a little entertainment? Personally, whether virtual or in person, I don’t think it’s a question of mixing information and entertainment; it’s a question of how much, or what percentage of each, you incorporate within the presentation. I wish I could provide you with an actual number, but I can’t. That would depend on the nature of the presentation. For instance:
- In a typical keynote or kick-off meeting, the mix might be 50% entertainment, and 50% training.
- In a typical training workshop, the mix might be 25% entertainment, and 75% training.
- In a typical dinner presentation, the mix might be 75% entertainment, and 25% training.
So, although the mix can fluctuate, whether it’s virtual, or live, I believe the combination of entertainment and training is critical. It’s so important that I’ve decided to give it a name; EnterTrainment™! All you need to do is mix entertainment and training and you’ve got it, right? Well, if you really want to call yourself an “EnterTrainer™,” and you really want to be outstanding during all speaking engagements, you’re going to need to add two more elements to your delivery:
- The act or process of encouraging others.
- The act of moving the emotions of others to take action.
Is it bad to be EnterTraining™ when we present information others? Of course not. Determining the nature of the presentation and creating the right mix is important, but so is the inspiration and motivation you want to create. This compels others to not just learn and listen, but to take action… and That’s EnterTrainment™!
Related: The Beauty of Five Percent Moves