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Zombie Audiences From Hell – Stop The Apocalypse!


The CEO is presenting point-by-point information. It’s tough – no sugarcoating. In the audience many heads are bowed. Maybe it’s from the weight of the message or even in prayer. Then you notice the soft glow that flickers across their faces. They’re gone, lost in their smartphones. They have tuned out and aren’t even listening! It’s the the Event of the Living Dead! How do you get people to focus and pay attention?

Meeting Zombies

The plague is rapidly spreading through the audience. Their lives have been drained dry by irrelevant content. Their brains have been sucked out by mindless tedium. Forget engagement or involvement – these poor creatures barely have a pulse. Forget your objectives and desired results. You are facing the Zombie Audience From Hell. The worst part is: You created them!

There’s only one way to prevent the Event of the Living Dead. A shriveled Tibetan monk at the base of the Himalayas gave it to me.

“Always give them a show!”

That’s a Show!

Here’s what I mean by “give them a show.” Appeal to an individual or audience in ways that help convey an essential theme or message so that it is acceptable, distinctive, valuable and memorable.

Powerful messages that focus on the precise needs of the organization and the audience.

That’s a show!

Content with meaning that the audience can use “right now” to handle their requirements first.

That’s a show!

The full spectrum of media to visualize and dramatize the content and make it entertaining.

That’s a show!

Music, staging, and theatrics to showcase the content and demonstrate to the audience that they are valuable.

That’s a show!

How you handle the content and the ways you present it make the audience feel valued. “Wow, look what they did for us!” A show is the audience’s reward for showing up. It is the face of your content.

And in the 21st century, there is also this single, cold reality:

If what they can find on their smartphones or tablets is more interesting and relevant that what’s on the stage – you’ve wasted their time and the client’s money.

Zombies Don’t Feel – People Do

Give those all-important people something to experience. Make it human and give your audiences permission to get involved … to respond … to react.

Ask yourself, who would want to invest time and attention in anything devoid of emotion? People want to feel things. You can see it, hear it and sense it in an audience. It’s in their faces, expressions, enthusiasm, attitudes and actions. Here’s the best part – it doesn’t have to be complicated or costly.

How to Make It a Show

When I was a kid, Emmett Kelly, the world-famous circus clown, fascinated me. He could grab the attention of an arena filled with people with nothing more than a broom. In one of his classic routines, he would sweep up the spotlight, making it smaller and smaller until it disappeared. As simple as that sounds, he would embellish and enhance ever movement until your sides literally ached from laughing. And all without a single word. He made it simple, clear, entertaining and human.

In the history of the world, there have never been more ways to make your messages memorable than there are today. Think about all the tools and techniques you can use. Take those tools and communicate in ways that are simple, clear, entertaining and human.

Simple, Clear, Entertaining & Human

Here’s how you get rid of the Meeting Zombies:

1.  From the very beginning, give your audience reasons to care. If they don’t care, the content doesn’t matter.

2.  Invest less time in “what it is” and more time in “why” and “what it means.”

3.  Don’t tell them things they already know. Tell them what to do next, and make it relevant.

4.  Focus on the least amount of information the individual or audience needs to know to do what you want them to do.

5.  Make the content come alive. Visualize. Dramatize. Make it move, sing, dance. Give people things to do that are fun!

6.  Tell them stories. Look for analogies or examples in their personal experiences.

7.  Use empathy as a powerful tool. Put yourself in their shoes. And them in yours. Share your own personal experiences and not just war stories. Remember, even the biggest corporations are just people.

8.  Communicate on their terms, using their vocabulary and context.

9.  Emotions are very powerful, so don’t be afraid to use them. Everything doesn’t have to be positive, but it has to be human.

10. Use the event to reinforce how much you value every person who attends. “Let us show you how important you are.”

But Wait, There’s More

Over the next few weeks, we are going to explore how you can make your events, trade shows and communications into the shows you’ve always wanted them to be. You’ll hear ideas and comments from experts as they share ways to do more – better. They’ll explain in greater detail how to get rid of the Zombie Audiences From Hell.

Remember, every element of your content should work together and demonstrate to the audience that they matter. You do it through Message, Meaning, Media and Music. And, please don’t forget –

Always Give Them a Show!

 If you want to know more about how to give them a show and create memorable events just click on CONTACT US and get in touch

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About the Author
Andy Johnston is a multi-faceted communication professional who has a comfortable way of working with people. Andy is an Emmy Award winning communicator known for his energy, humor, creativity and his unique ability to discover the key results that must be generated – and then to develop ingenious ways to engage and motivate audiences. He has broad experience in strategic planning, messaging, creative direction, marketing, and events. One of the things Andy says often is, “How can we make it better?”
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