Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Presentation Skills: Costumes

No, you don't have to go on-stage in a gorilla suit, although you could if you
wanted to.
A costume can be anything from a flashy tie, to a feathered hat, to a
full blown shiny Marca Polina outfit (the feminine Marco Polo) complete with
an illuminated magic wand, that my friend Sally Walton wears when she talks
about the magic art of "Communicating Across Cultures." Costumes add a flare
and excitement to your presentations and certainly help to make them more

If you don't like to wear costumes, get the audience members to wear them.
Better yet, get the "big shots" to wear them and you will probably be the hit of
the meeting. I was doing a customer service talk for a pizza franchise and I had
one of the senior managers march into the meeting wearing a filthy, doctor's lab
coat with ketchup all over it (fake blood). I had another senior manager come in
with a crisp, new lab coat. I asked a simple question, Which manager would you
like operating on you? Of course, all the junior managers yelled out that they
wouldn't let either one of these people operate on them. Everyone was laughing
and joking around, but the point was made. They must keep their employees
looking clean and neat because nice customers won't want to be served by
grungy food service workers.

Costume characters can be hired to hand out fliers at your event, entertain,
and generally create an air of fun and excitement.
The local heart association has
a "blood drop" costume they use when they are soliciting funds. There are
literally hundreds of costumes available through costume shops or mail order
(see Morris Costume in appendix). Just make sure, as always, the theme of the
costume matches the theme of your presentation or event.

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