6 unexpected ways a speaker can inject the element of surprise and delight in a presentation at an event or in an online webinar

Laughing woman

Keeping your audience engaged and interested during a corporate event can cause the event to be remembered in a positive light by attendees. In addition, people are more likely to remember information that emotionally resonated with them in some way. Using surprise and delight in corporate presentations and events is one of the most effective ways to make the event emotionally relevant.

  1. Don’t show your hand. During the build-up to your event, you will be promoting the event to employees or customers as a useful, fun and rewarding experience; the promotions will almost certainly include some talk of what to expect during the event. If you have something unusual planned, however, keep it under wraps. This way, you’ll be able to surprise the whole audience with something completely unexpected.

  2. Change up the order. By inserting a live performance, skit, video or giveaway into the middle of the speech, you can make aspects of the event that would have otherwise been routine into a surprise. Again, when you deviate from the normal order of things, you’re able to keep attendees more engaged.

  3. Use unexpected physical props. One idea is to keep a prop under each of the chairs in the venue, then have the audience reach under their chairs to access the prop at a given time. The prop should be fun and either meaningful to a story you’re telling, or meaningful for the purposes of the event. The prop under the chair can be as simple as a can of bubbles, or as immediately relevant as an unexpected sample of a new product.

  4. Involve the audience. Using volunteers from the audience for interactive demonstrations can go a long way towards injecting surprise and delight into your corporate event. This is especially effective if the attendees are somewhat familiar with one another, and you are able to draw on knowledge of the volunteer.

  5. Keep them laughing. Nothing is more delightful than laughter, but some corporate events are noticeably lacking in this important, event-shaping feature. Interspersing humor throughout the event and giving your audience time to process and enjoy it can make the event more fun and thus more memorable. Even at an otherwise goal-oriented event, laughter is an important tool.

  6. Be surprised and delighted. One of the best methods of using surprise and delight in corporate presentations and events is to seem surprised and delighted yourself, whether it’s joy at the act of public speaking or surprised delight when speaking to attendees. Moods are contagious, so make sure that anyone speaking or performing at the event has an attitude worth catching.

Using the unexpected in corporate events and finding unique ways to impress your business audience are what separate the “so so” presentations from the ones that are remembered forever.

This post was originally published on the One Smooth Stone blog on November 26, 2013. For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to build your brand and inspire an audience through events and communications, please contact Brian Duffy by calling 630.427.4235 or by emailing bduffy@onesmoothstone.com

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