Now that we have officially passed the summer solstice, it’s time for everyone to focus on a bit of summer fun! People have many ways to celebrate the warm weather and long daylight. Some go camping, take a trip to the cabin, or hit the theme and water parks, while others see ball games, ride their bikes for miles and miles, or follow their favorite band around the country.

Summer’s also a busy time for meetings, conferences, and trade shows. To those of you speaking at these events, we issue a challenge: instead of getting way too serious, find a way to inject summer’s fun into your delivery. Take it from us-the world already has far too many boring presentations.

Many presenters are willing to tell a joke or funny story, but we’re talking about trying something really different to be memorable and make an impression. A unique introduction, a well-used prop, or a creative theme woven through your content helps listeners pay better attention to the message.

We understand this isn’t easy and doesn’t feel comfortable. (As folk musician Jim Post used to say, “Uhhh, I can’t do that, guys, I’m an accounting engineer!”) But in the right situation, doing something DIFFERENT creates an atmosphere for buy-in. And as we always say…the audience doesn’t care how YOU feel.

Here are a few ideas for bringing the lighter side of summer to your next presentation:

Showcase a talent. Whether it’s a real skill or a stupid human trick, do something different to loosen things up. Do you juggle? Do a bit of juggling to make a point about “keeping your business in control when it issues come flying at you.” Or if you’re good with magic, use a well-practiced trick to help employees understand that “our customers will think we’re performing magic, but the secret is that we just know what we’re doing.”

Start with a POW! Instead of the usual blah blah blahs when you begin (“I’m so excited to be here…” or “I know your time is valuable…” or “It’s an honor to be able to…”), deliver an opener which will have an impact. Use an analogy, a surprising statistic, or a thought-provoking question. Try getting listeners to use their imaginations. The more creative it is, the more memorable it will be.

Show a clip. Surprise your audience by using a funny photo or video clip to reinforce your point. Run a minute or two of the flying monkeys from Wizard of Oz, Jack Nicholson on the witness stand in A Few Good Men, some PG-rated clip from The Hangover, or maybe “Lighten Up, Francis” from Stripes. (Link to the Glossary listing).

Do Something Different. Why not take the meeting outside on a nice day and serve Arnold Palmers while discussing strategy? Have everyone wear a Hawaiian shirt and shorts to get the creative juices flowing. Or maybe have everyone wear a baseball cap or jersey for a “game film” session to assess the competition.

Go beyond these suggestions.
Rhyme your words (like Jesse Jackson used to do), use a foreign language, stand on your head, put on a wig, throw candy into the audience, or add your own idea here. Anything that engages your audience counts as adding summer fun.

Enjoy the summer in a big way, and bring the fun into your presentations, too. Please send us ideas that you have tried or seen, and let us know how it goes!