Over the years, I’ve had client and prospective client calls, go something like this, “Jeff, we’d like you to facilitate our company or association’s panel discussion.”
These folks are surprised by my initial response, “That would be a mistake!”
However, I quickly add, “I’ll be more than happy, to host your TV telecast!”
Then, they’re intrigued. Excited. And after the “show,” incredibly grateful.
Typical panel discussions, symposiums or moderated forums are dull. Yet, they can be transformed into a dynamic, lively, fast-paced idea exchange. Just like a TV talk show.
Here’s how you create your own meeting telecast:
1. Create a TV environment with bright lights, staging, comfy chairs, side tables with glasses and water pitchers, etc.
2. Have your top corporate leaders or association members become “celebrity guests.”
3. Let your other attendees become the “studio audience.” Go to them for questions or comments, because folks love to participate and be engaged.
4. Hire a pro to host your broadcast. Ideally, you need someone who’s quick on their feet, spontaneous, warm, personable, funny, quickly engages your audience, can ask incisive initial questions and most important, relevant follow-up questions. They can also “politely control” the information flow, meaning, they won’t allow a guest or audience member to monopolize the conversation or ascend to their own personal soapbox.
5. Also make sure your host is a skillful researcher. The host needs to discover your organization’s or group’s challenges, issues, opportunities, business-drivers, strategic initiatives, etc. This can even include entertaining inside stories or humorous personal anecdotes about your key players or guests. You and your audience will value the host’s preparation and advance homework.
6. Stress that guests DO NOT know what questions will be posed, a script breeds cynicism, while spontaneity drives candor and honesty.
7. Do not seat guests behind a table, this creates a barrier with the audience.
8. Encourage guests to chat with each other, comment or pose a question.
9. If microphones are needed, depending upon the size of your group, each guest should have a lavaliere mic, so they have freedom of movement. Your host can have a lav and a handheld, for when they’re in the audience for questions.
10. Go to pre-recorded (on audio or video) “call-ins” with questions for your guests.
11. Have an announcer that “sets-the-stage” with a big booming voice to welcome the studio audience to your “show” and he or she introduces the “host.”
12. Have each guest provide the host, weeks before your “airing,” with a brief bio, that includes professional and personal info, especially, something the audience didn’t know about the guest.
13. Use music, as folks enter the “studio” or as you go to “commercial breaks.”
14. Aside from pre-recorded music, consider hiring a small live band. Live bands create a unique energy.
15. Record the event on video. The appearance of cameras enhances and reinforces the setting, and you can then use excerpts on a website, blog, DVD, etc. Once, during a “break in the show,” a woman actually asked and exclaimed to me, “Is this being broadcast live or on tape? I want to tell my family to watch!”
16. Create collateral marketing materials for the show: i.e., print tickets, develop a distinctive logo and catchy name for your show or network, give away T-shirts or other swag with the show’s name and logo, etc.
Remember, a powerful way to share valuable information, is when you create an experience that captures others’ hearts and minds. It’s amazing what happens when people are engaged, laughing, listening and learning. It imprints memories and drives results!
Look forward to reading and hearing about your triumphant telecast, in the pages of Variety or on the E! Network!
Jeff Blackman is a Hall of Fame speaker, author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. His clients call him a business-growth specialist. If you hire speakers, please contact Jeff at 847.998.0688 or firstname.lastname@example.org. And visit jeffblackman.com to learn more about his other business-growth tools and to subscribe to his free e-letter, The Results Report. Jeff’s bestselling books include “Stop Whining! Start Selling!” and “Peak Your Profits!” You can also stay connected with Jeff via LinkedIn and Twitter:@BlackmanResults.