July 11, 2008

Add some fun to your presentation with a skit

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to put on a sweatband and a couple of wristbands and work out in the middle of my referrals group meeting.

Of course, it was all part of a skit arranged by Nicole Clancy, who was going to be speaking on how to choose the right personal trainer. She had asked a couple of us to kick off the skit while she was changing into her rubberized sweatsuit.

As she set up her materials and then walked out of the room to change, the group settled into a low hum, chatting with their neighbors and eating lunch. Imagine their surprise when I stood up and exclaimed loudly, "What is taking Nicole so long?"

Having done skits like these many times in my life, I always expect and enjoy those first few awkward moments when the rest of the group stares at me like I'm a wacko. Their discomfort is all over their faces as they look around at each other, wondering what the heck is going on.

I went on, "Isn't it just like a trainer to always be late? I was really hoping to get in a workout today." The other two plants joined in on the complaining.

As I pulled on the sweatbands, I invited the other plants to join me and we all began to stretch and talk about how unreliable trainers are.

Soon enough, the rest of the group clued in. In fact, one person verbalized, "I think this is part of the presentation." And then the room relaxed and began to enjoy the silliness. The whole setup took about three minutes, before Nicole arrived back in the room with her whistle and her cell phone, playing the part of a stereotypical fitness trainer.

As I mentioned in a previous post on inspiring your audience with a fresh perspective, bringing an unexpected element to your presentation is a great way to shake things up and get your audience on board with your message in a completely new way.

The initial discomfort only enhances the eventual realization that it's a gag, and adds to the audience's enjoyment of the skit and final presentation.

Have you ever included a skit in your presentation? Share the details in the comments.

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