Richard Laible’s Blog
How to write a joke.
Why blog about this?
Because I’m answering the 2 most common questions I’m asked:
1) How do you write your jokes?
2) Can you help me write a joke?
I remember my first joke (Side note: I did not write this joke). I was little, maybe 1st grade, and my parents were having a party. I walked around every small group of people asking, “Is your refrigerator running?” In retrospect I’m sure they all knew this joke, but looking down and seeing this kid in his pajamas what jerk is going to heckle me and spoil my gag? So, they say, “Yes.” With perfect timing I hit ‘em with the punch! “Well, you better go catch it!” Cue the perfunctory laughter. Hundreds of hours of therapy have shown me this positive reinforcement set the path I am still on. Oh yeah, how to write a joke.
The difference at an event is much bigger than you may realize between a Facilitator and Professional Emcee. Below breaks down what Richard Laible believes to be that distinction.
- Introduces guests – often the introduction of a speaker consists of their name, title and a brief biography…and once those are done the facilitator shakes the speaker’s hand and walks off stage. Nice and clean.
- Tells Jokes – sometimes funny, often not, also frequently a joke the attendees have heard before. Smart facilitators know their strengths.
- Handles Housekeeping – adept at reading off a list of information, most often to a PowerPoint slide. Very helpful.
Professional Corporate Emcee
- Personalized & Entertaining Introductions – A professional emcee finds out some interesting facts about the speaker and weaves them into the introduction. This accomplishes two things: humanizing the speaker and therefore emotionally connecting the speaker to the audience. Now the speaker isn’t just the CMO, but also the father of triplets who once washed dishes to pay for college.
- Engages Attendees – By using high energy & smart segues, a professional emcee keeps the goals of the meeting at the forefront. By breaking the “4th wall” and talking with the attendees (instead of “at them”) the professional emcee links the crowd with the speakers, material and massaging.
- Gets Attendees to Really Listen to Messages – The comic genius Herb Gardner said, “Once you get people laughing … they’re listening.” And that’s the ultimate measure of a successful sales conference or event: getting the audience to really listen to your message! A professional emcee should also actually be funny, because humor ‘in the moment” makes an event work better.
- High Energy Opening – A professional emcee opens the event each day in a fun, upbeat, and highly interactive manner, grabbing and keeping everyone’s attention focused. This sets the tone and adds consistency to the important themes. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to get the attendees out of their chairs for some interactive fun and small team building activity. A pro knows this doesn’t need to take much time but does start them off energized.
- Maintain Dynamic Flow – As meetings progress they tend to slow down. Keeping the attendees engaged and the pace moving a professional emcee constantly must re-energize the room with fun, humor, and energy, thereby sustaining involvement and interactivity.
- Does homework – Much of an event happens well before the occasion itself. Professional emcees find out and understand all about a company, the speakers, specific & overall messaging, etc. to assure their contribution is targeted to the strategic goals for an event. Simply put: a pro is prepared.
- Monitors and Adjusts – Sometimes an event calls for high energy and humor. Other times for calm and quiet. Knowing the right mood and pace, and how to accomplish both, puts a professional emcee above the pack.
- Stays Flexible – Meetings and events can change on a dime (Speakers are late, the meeting is running long, the PowerPoint froze, and countless other unintended slip-ups happen). Nothing throws a pro…quite the opposite. A professional can take any fiasco and turn it into a success.
- Handles Housekeeping – Simply reading a list just doesn’t do it. Staying upbeat, in the moment with just the right amount of enthusiasm and humor makes a dull list into a fun piece of business.
The bottom line is that a professional emcee helps bring your messages to life in a fun way, so people act on them and their commitment to execute is higher. They support you and your objectives, making your event better and your job easier. Ideas are brought to life and retained better since the people were actively listening. But I believe most importantly, people enjoy the event like they never have before as they eagerly participate, interact and ultimately realize their full potential to perform.
Trade Shows can be tricky. It doesn’t take a wizard to get attendees from the aisle carpet onto YOUR booth carpet. Just follow these DOs & DON’Ts and you’ll conjure up more qualified leads and fill your booth before you can say Abracadabra!!
Most of these are just common sense for trade shows, but we all need reminders occasionally. And maybe, just maybe, you might learn something new!
Trade Show Tips are sorely needed as trade shows themselves are on the upswing and companies are spending more to attend and attract customers. So, why do I see so many easily fixed mistakes still happening in the booths I observe? No one is telling the staff on the floor how to “work” the booth! With the amount of money spent by organizations to attend a trade show you would think they would want to get the maximum ROI. Well, these very easy to follow Trade Show Tips will help you get the most out of your trade show dollars.
When I work as a Tradeshow Presenter Las Vegas is the city I find myself in most often. I figure I’ve been there over 80 separate times. So, sufficed to say, I have that city down on where to stay & eat and what to do on the nights I’m not exhausted from standing and talking all day.
STUFF TO DO:
When I first started going to Las Vegas I would always book tickets to see a big show ahead of time for 2 reasons: a lot of the shows sell out and I like good seats. I’ve seen all the Cirque shows (“O” was the best to me), Tony Bennett, Blue Man Group, Ray Charles, George Carlin (3 times), Jay Leno, David Copperfield, Siegfried & Roy, Penn & Teller, Rich Little, etc. Check the calendar as some really big stars might be doing one night, on the night you have free.
Why ‘Bob from Sales’ shouldn’t emcee your meetings
Location: ACME Corp. Meeting Room
Agenda Item: ACME National Sales & Users Meeting
Boss: Ok, so that all sounds like a good plan. Anything else before we wrap this up?
New employee: Um, have you ever hired a professional emcee to host your meeting?
Boss: Nah, Bob, our VP of Sales always does a good enough job. I’ll tell him he’s doing it again.
An email pops up on a Friday from a third-party asking if I have availability in the summer as a trade show presenter. A quick look at my calendar and the answer is, “Yes!” I quickly reply so, and a few minutes later get the response, “Great. They need to see a video of you, in action, as a trade show presenter.” Ugh. I don’t have one. Oh sure, I spent a small fortune on my corporate emcee video, but my work as a trade show presenter have always come by word of mouth or a client watching me present live on the show floor and hiring me after seeing me “in action”…not on tape…ever! I wrote back that I’d have something to them by early next week. Gulp! Okay, now what?
It’s funny, when I was asked prior to 3rd grade what I wanted to be when I grew up, my pat answer was, “A Doctor, TV Star or Ice Cream Man.” Cute, huh? But things changed. You see, in 2nd grade I was friends with everyone in my class. As a matter of fact, I was voted “Student of the Month” the first week of class: it was kind of a popularity thing. So, you can imagine my dismay when my parents announced we were moving. “What!?! NO!!!” They assured me it was just one town over and being an outgoing and “funny” kid I would make new friends easily. I thought, “Yeah, they’re right,” and enjoyed the rest of my summer before the move.
Magazine article? As a meeting emcee and trade show presenter, let’s face it, I didn’t have the New York Times, USA Today or even the Piquionne Gazette banging down my door to write an article about me and my unique career. So, I found a fun, nifty (a word that’s not used enough these days) and uncomplicated way to have an article written about one’s self and small business. This article can then be used as a marketing device and way to get some free electronic press. I am sure there are other companies you could go through, but the one I found easiest was Voyage Media.
Over the past 20+ years as a professional emcee I have become quite astute at packing ONE carry-on bag for a five days’ worth of travel as most of my work takes place away from where I live. (Caveat: being a man, I cannot speak for female travelers, as I have never packed a suitcase for a lady) One reason I do this is that I never have to worry about the airlines losing my luggage (stuff I need for my role as emcee), something I hear happens from time to time.