Friday, September 30, 2011

The Packaging Makes a Difference

Apple is known for its remarkable packaging.  The shipping boxes are perfect (minimal, simple, etc.), but its product boxes are the best - stylish, eco-friendly, cool. I have kept many Apple product boxes and repurposed them because of their design and weight.

Yet, I don't buy Apple products because of the box.  I buy them because they are awesome.  However, when it comes to your work (speaking/training), the packaging does make a big difference.  Case in point, I recently keynoted a massive student leadership conference.  Thousands of students flooded into the convention arena. Before my keynote was a welcome and a greeting from state education officials.  One of them stretched a 5-minute greeting into a 35-minute mini-keynote - leaving me 8-minutes for the actual keynote.

It wasn't a total train wreck.  He did have a good message and a compelling story.  Yet, this was the opening session and many students were already tweeting how boring the conference was. The rub was that he just stood behind the podium and talked. The problem was packaging.  He stood and talked at them for 35-minutes. This package type does not encourage, inspire or enable audience engagement. It chases it away.  Its a shame, too, because his content was important and powerful.  But after 7-minutes all of it fell on deaf ears because of inappropriate packaging.

Packaging Options for Audience Engagement:

  • Audience interacting with each other
  • Audience interacting with speaker
  • Emotional stories, quotes, thoughts (humorous, inspirational, dramatic, sad)
  • Music
  • Properly-designed Power Points
  • Variety in pace, tone and volume
  • Speaker physically moving around the stage/room

Great speakers and trainers understand that simply saying something doesn't equate to someone else hearing it, understanding it or acting upon it.  You must package the delivery with an Apple-like caring eye for detail and design.  Best of luck.