Anybody ever lost focus in a meeting? How about a presentation? What about a teleconference?
Why is that? We’re brilliant at technological communication. We have loads of data at our fingertips.
We can track what websites our customers visit and then create targeted ads. Google mail culls those emails or newsletters we haven’t opened for a while. Social media advertising creepily reflects what we’re thinking.
But I think that as our communication has become automated, so have we.
Corporate presentations are bland. Corporate conversations are bland. Newsletters are long and bland.
Too many times I sit beside someone on a plane or at a conference and they’re busily typing away, telling me sheepishly they are only just now preparing their presentation for that afternoon. Well, that's going to be your best work.
Sales people drag out reams of data (because they can) and bedazzle (bore) us with detailed stats and graphs.
Good grief people, where is the humanity?
I LOVE technology. But I’m feeling horribly like our communication in the corporate world has lost the plot when it comes to connecting with our audiences.
Recently I was lucky enough to work with Shangri La Hotels who held a beautiful dinner for clients at Melbourne’s Vue de Monde. The smart people at Shang wanted to make the dinner educational but didn’t want to bore the pants off everyone.
So we decided to tell stories. With each course someone told a 10 minute story relating to Shangri-La, the story of a long term employee, a successful familiarisation trip, a disastrous site inspection and I’m not sure how this got in but it involved a police raid on the Rolling Stones and Marianne Faithfull with a Mars bar in a compromising position.
We had the BEST feedback from that dinner. People had a great time and told us it felt more like a wedding than a business function. I’d like to say it was the brilliant MCing, but the truth is, I know it was the power of storytelling.
Stories humanise your brand and the best brands know this. Embrace AI and automation, but while we can, let’s hold on to our humanity. Because that’s what sticks.
Lynne Schinella is a conference speaker, speaker coach, and author of Bite Me! and other do's and don'ts of dealing with our differences.
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