August 9, 2007

Are you memorable?

If you've ever watched any of Graham Norton's shows, you'll understand why I'm using him to illustrate a memorable performer. Norton is an Irish comedian known for his risqué sense of humor, and he's hosted several talk show series, some of which are shown here on BBC America and Logo.

Depending on who his guests are, he will engage the audience in activities related to the guests' movies, TV shows, music or reputation. In the episode where Joan Collins was a guest, he asked audience members to dress up like Joan Collins as Alexis in Dynasty, and act out a scene from the show with a mannequin dressed as Krystle. He did the same when Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly from Cagney and Lacey were on the show.

I've seen him do a "game show" where the audience has to match another audience member with her/his partner. I've seen episodes where he asks the audience to reveal embarrassing secrets. I've seen an audience member battle an inflatable crocodile. And his most popular stunts include looking up oddities on the Internet, sending an audience member out to do something silly in public, and calling his guests' fans at home.

I'm always entertained by Norton because I'm never sure what he's going to do next, but every skit or caper ties into the theme of the show in some way.

Now I realize that Graham Norton is a comedian and you're not. But how about coming up with something fun for your audience to do that ties into your talk? Can you give them a fun quiz or game that relates to your topic? Can you tape questions under their chairs and call on people to respond throughout the presentation? Do you sing or play an instrument that could contribute to the fun?

Make your presentation memorable; give your audience something special to remember you by.

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