How to steal the show

by Pierre Morsa

A few weeks ago, Ideas on Stage had the privilege of organizing a sales presentation training for Krauthammer at Dolce La Hulpe, close to Brussels in Belgium. For us, delivering a training for dozens of senior people at Krauthammer, one of the world’s most respected sales and management training companies, felt like designing something for Jonathan Ive, Apple’s legendary designer: a bit intimidating but incredibly exciting.

The training met with great success, and it was fantastic to work with such talented people, but what I will remember most are two presentations. During the hands-on course, groups prepared a sales pitch, and at the end of the day, each group had to deliver its presentation in front of the others.

The first group was stunning! The beginning of the presentation used the music from “Also sprach Zarathustra” from Richard Strauss, the piece you hear in the movie 2001, A Space Odyssey when mankind discovers the use of tools. Not speaking at all, just pointing to a few words at a time on the slides to deliver his key message. He had his audience’s attention fully captured!

Boy, was the second group in trouble. How can you beat such a brilliant presentation? Well, the second presenter calmly and confidently went on stage. And started singing the tune of “Also sprach Zarathustra” live! Everybody, impressed by his boldness and his clever and humorous improvisation, feeling fully connected and present, started singing along. Using great body language to increase the dramatic effect, he stole the show. After doing this he simply said “This is how we do it at Krauthammer. We don’t do playback, we always do it live!” Everybody laughed and had a great time. This is exactly the kind of presentation they will still remember and talk about next year, whereas countless other boring presentations will have been long forgotten.

They probably won’t do that in front of a real client. But they will remember the need to be memorable. By default, your audience will forget everything you say—fast. It’s up to you to find a way to make your messages stick. (With or without singing.)

Steal the show