The Skunk in the Hole
Page 2

Not Your Average...
Executive Coaching
Corporate Communication Workshops
Corporate Video Production
As luck would have it, the president of the company asked him to give a presentation to the Fall gathering of the company’s store managers, buyers, and vendors explaining what he and his department did. His presentation was going to take place at a casual cocktail party at the end of three days of meetings and presentations. Put yourself in this person’s shoes. The work he and his team did was critical to everyone’s success, but it’s not the easiest or most glamorous thing to describe -- especially at a cocktail party at the end of three days of meetings. Can you see all the suitcases lining the wall? Can you see everyone checking the time to make sure they don’t miss their planes home? 
In a situation like this, how do you capture your audience’s attention? How do you convey important information? How do you get your audience to do what you want them to do?
Back to that nagging question, where do you start? We started in the place where all presentations should start. We started with his message: “My department and I are here to help you with your problems. However, we should not be your first call. After you’ve exhausted all your options, call us. We’ll make it right.”
Given the circumstances of the presentation… the cocktail party, the end of three long days of meetings, we decided that a recitation of protocols for getting service wasn’t a good idea. Instead, we thought a story might carry the message more effectively. But what story? The best stories are personal and they’re true. We talked about a number of interactions and situations with people from the local fast food restaurant, to online computer support. We even talked about interactions with his teenage son. As he walked through his collection of potential stories, one situation jumped out. It had humor, it had drama, it was real, it was personal, and it was something everyone could relate to.