Event Fun Facts
You may roll your eyes at the notion of "Fun Facts", but they're powerful tools when used correctly.
PRO-TIP: Don’t call them “Fun Facts”. Using them at events, however, is extremely beneficial when introducing yourself, being introduced by others, or when introducing guests, (if you’re the Host/MC). You’re still cringing.
When I’m preparing to Host an event, there’s no easier way for me to ask in advance for these useful soundbites from clients than by using the words. But, if you simply don’t describe them as “Fun Facts” when you put them into play, no one attending the event will be any the wiser.
Other than rare circumstances, (e.g., introducing yourself before announcing the company has gone bankrupt, or introducing a guest who has committed heinous crimes against humanity), I recommend you ALWAYS use a “Fun Fact”. Even when you think it may be out of context; especially when it’s out of context.
When introducing others with a “Fun Fact”, it’s next to impossible for them to appear without a smile on their face, or some visible expression of emotion. This energizes their first words and sets the tone for the rest of their presentation. While their emotions and information may change from “fun” to more serious, the key is to help them start without a flat expression. A “fun” introduction, (let’s instead call it “personal”), instantly and intrinsically informs them of the expressive range they have, which often doesn’t appear on speakers’ faces until they’re well into their presentations. By that time, it’s possible that people have tuned out, missing important details.
If you’re introducing yourself, a “Fun Fact” is an opportunity to create early trust with your audience. Don’t worry about “Fun Facts” being a potential distraction from an important message, or vital data you’re about to share. Even if they have nothing to do with the content, one of the biggest favours you can do for yourself and your audience is give them a reason to feel connected to you, intrigued by you, or, at minimum, put the smile or some form of expression of emotion on their faces.
On the pic I’ve included the expressions on the faces of my guests at this recent event are screenshots from within seconds of me introducing them. Yes, it’s a Holiday Party, but I can assure you the effect is the same when I introduce my guests at Town Halls, Business Sessions, Conferences, Panels and other corporate event scenarios.
Keeping in mind my previous Pro-Tip about Host/MC introductions always ENDING with the person’s name, below is an example of how to use a “Fun Fact”. It’s from an event where some of the executives were initially reluctant to provide me with them, and, yet, I eventually used them with great success.
(BTW: I don’t have clearance to use their pic, or their real name and title).
1. HOST/MC: Your first presenter will be speaking about supply chain solutions on the Asia–Pacific Gateway and Corridor. As described by one of their colleagues, of allVPs in the organization, they hold the title for the best natural head of hair and have dance moves that resemble that of a young John Travolta. Here’s VP Sales, British Columbia - Brendan Miller.
The imagery of Brendan “Disco” dancing does not undermine the content. Instead, it engages active listening, which is far less likely to be accomplished for the audience than by merely using the words, “supply chain solutions on the Asia–Pacific Gateway and Corridor”.
For the second example, I’ll re-write it in the first person to give you an example of how you might use your own “Fun Fact”. Unlike introducing others, when you’re introducing yourself, START with your name.
2. VP: I’m Brian Lewin, VP Sales, Atlantic Canada. I’m going to be speaking to you about the urgency of technology and security initiatives. Urgency is something that powerfully resonates with me, having unexpectedly helped deliver during the home birth of our own child.
Some “Fun Facts” can only ever be used once with any given audience. At the same time, how often are you being formally introduced to your most common audience in any given year? Quarterly? I’m sure you can come up with 4-6 new nuggets annually.
So, when someone asks you for a “Fun Fact” to use when introducing you, embrace their gesture with gratitude instead of resisting. Just remind them not to call it a “Fun Fact”. That’s cringy.