(post by Andrew Thorp)
I must congratulate Ralli Solicitors in Manchester (UK) for an ingenious piece of theatre – their Mock Employment Tribunal “An Ageing Fool” performed on 1st April. I wish I could say that I was there but at the time I was being judged myself in front of a panel of chief execs in the Midlands! But I’ve heard great things about the session and look forward to seeing the video footage.
The reason it’s prompted me to blog is that it’s a great piece of storytelling. Professional services firms don’t have a reputation for imaginative marketing so this re-creation of a tribunal scene was all the more impressive as a strategy. There’s a link below to the report of the event and you’ll see some great characters portrayed and some normally straight-laced professionals really tapping into their inner De Niro or Dench.
But the point here is that when you’re trying to get across a message, and perhaps change someone’s thinking on a particular matter, there’s no better way that to re-create an experience.
A few years ago a study was done of some Hollywood script pitches, presentations made to hard-nosed movie financiers. A clear pattern emerged in the scripts that got funding – in each case the audience felt part of the pitch. The presenters somehow brought it to life and made the panel feel involved.
This is the beauty of theatre – it creates a strong sense of connection between the stage performers and the audience. Bill Gates did this with his mosquito pitch to the TED audience, part of his current mission to rid the world of killer diseases. At one point he explains that, “mosquitoes cause malaria.” He then goes on to open a perspex box on a table to his side, adding, “I’ve just released some mosquitoes into the auditorium, because I don’t think malaria should be confined to just poor people.” Boy, did THAT connect with the audience!
So if you really want to make a point from the stage, get the audience to experience something. Don’t just appeal to their intellect – go for their emotions too and, like Ralli, bring some theatre into business (here’s the link to the event report).