Showing and Telling is One Thing...Providing an Experience is Another
As kids, on Show n’ Tell Day, we‘d all abandon the normal schedule and get to leave our assigned seats. We’d choose a spot on the multi-colored tile, make a big ol’ circle and await the many different things our fellow classmates brought. The audience was eager and ready to react. As an adult in business, we’re still responsible for showing and telling; we strive to spur our audience’s interest and sometimes struggle to find the best method.
Back to kindergarten. As usual, our teacher would pick a spot in the circle to start the sequence. Just a few kids went before li’l Steve, but when it was his turn, Mrs. MacDonald said we’d come back to him because what he brought...was outside. Outside?!! During stories about a jar of crickets or an autographed baseball, all I could think about was what Steve brought and, judging by the smile on his face, he was excited to tell us about it. When the time came, we lined up single-file and headed out. Our heads bobbed from side to side trying to get an early view of what we were walking toward.
Approaching the heavy, metal doors, we saw Steve’s mom wearing a cowboy hat and boots. This added to the anticipation and made Steve’s smile even bigger. Finally, the doors opened to the parking lot where we all saw a tiny pony! Our body language said, “tell us more” and Steve was happy to oblige. We learned what the pony ate, how old he was, how he helped on the farm and more importantly, why he had a cart attached to him. “Who’d like to go for a ride?” Steve asked.
Man, over 20 years later I can still remember that day and remember how special that pony was to Steve. His story engaged us because we experienced the smells and sounds and petted its mane. Today, my career revolves around effective communication; my goal is to engage audiences by providing an experience. Using sound, behind-the-scenes video, candid storytelling, explanatory animation and strategic design, I want the audience to walk away with something: a memory, a smile, and an understanding. Everything about Steve’s Show n’ Tell was effective. The mystery, the suspense, the location and the big reveal...he delivered.
Today, you know li’l Steve as the chairman and CEO of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus! Well, okay, that’s not true, but this story kinda had a Paul Harvey thing going there.
-Corey Wilkinson, Wilkinson Brothers, Inc.