When I performed years ago in Los Angeles at CBS Television City, one of the most memorable moments of the experience for me was being within arm’s length of the big wheel from the “Price Is Right”! To get to the stage where I was going to be performing stand-up comedy, we had to walk past the backstage area where they stored TPIR sets and games. I was about to be entertaining a live U.S. audience of millions and I was more intrigued by the whereabouts of the “Plinko” board.
You may not have the same fascination with game shows as I, but you absolutely have an “Inner Game Show Host” and it’s something that you shouldn’t ignore.
I believe an actual game show format, or even just using the skills and strategies of the genre will help you succeed at everything from meetings to dinner parties.
Think about it! When you’re working, or socializing with people, you want them to: have a positive experience; be involved and focused; and take action on ideas. In order to capture their attention, connect with them and inspire results, the game show format, literally or in principle, is perfect!
For example, you’re at a cocktail reception mingling with colleagues, their spouses and other guests. You may not have an “agenda” to push, but I urge you to prepare something to talk about in advance of such events AND practice being responsive to the ideas of others. Your “Inner Game Show Host” will help you. Like game shows, conversations should be easy to understand and follow. You should be able to explain what you want to talk about concisely, and have a clear opinion on the topic. But, it’s not all about you. A good “host”, in fact, makes it more about the contestants. There are questions and answers to exchange, you need to listen and, when necessary, seamlessly bring the conversation back to the original subject matter, (the game format). Finally, in order to connect with people, especially in a conversation, they have to know what’s in it for them; the stakes, or prize, if you will.
Great game show hosts make this look easy, and the more practice you get with it in extemporaneous situations, the better you’ll be at connecting with your audience and getting the results you’re looking for. The results may not always be about you exclusively. Will your idea improve their lives in some way? This, too, can be something that you strive for.
The same can be said for scenarios at work. When I coach executives on how to prepare for and deliver a keynote, or how to lead a boardroom meeting, I often integrate the elements of game shows and characteristics of a host to help them get the results they’re hoping for from their target audience. I’m not necessarily saying they conduct it like an actual game show- just that they use the concepts. Have a clear agenda, a powerful idea to convey, support it by answering questions people have about your idea (prepared proof points, as well as the actual Q&A section), and persuade people to act on what you’ve presented.
There are, of course, many situations where you can employ an actual game show with great success, like at a conference, employee recognition party, or family reunion.
A new client, Jennifer Holland from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, sent me a fantastic article about the benefits of using the game show format at events. If I had to pick just one thing to powerfully endorse from the article it’s to “HIRE A PROFESSIONAL MC”! OMG I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen gala awards, plenary sessions, town halls and moderated panels unravel in the hands of an amateur. Bless their hearts, it’s a harder gig than you think, so I’m not trying to be cruel. But, please, if you don’t spend on entertainment, at the very least throw a few bucks at someone who can keep the agenda moving forward, add professional and appropriate levity, and think on their feet.
Having said that, I have performed my actual game show, The Adam Growe Quiz Show, as a form of entertainment, as well as a fundraising or learning tool for countless organizations. It’s great entertainment, engages audiences of all sizes and gets results! That’s what this article in The Meeting Professional is all about: for meeting and event planners to enhance engagement using the game show.
Obviously, I’m passionate about game shows because I hosted one on TV, perform one live at events and comedy shows, and have launched an interactive game show online. As you can see, however, I’m also passionate about them because I believe the fundamentals and skill set of the format will help you be a successful communicator.
Whether you prefer to be a fly on the wall, or you’re the type of personality who likes to hold court, I strongly recommend you tap into your “Inner Game Show Host”. Start simple: for the next party you’re going to attend, or next meeting you’re at, prepare one question that resonates with your audience in a positive manner and make sure to ask it with clarity.
Even if you’re not the host, you can still be effective with the tool. So, “Come on down!”.