To the chagrin of Samsung and its testimonial itself, the famous presentation of the new curved Samsung TVs at CES ended as a disaster. Not only Samsung will suffer from this disappointing showing but Hollywood director Michael Bay (“Transformers”, “Pearl Harbor”) as well maneuvered himself in an embarrassing situation. Learn how to avoid your very own Michal-Bay-Samsung-Moment.
I assume Samsung could have done better in preparing its testimonial for this task. And Bay himself probably as well. With the right preparation, embarrassing moments like these can be avoided. Worth mentioning, Bay commented his performance on his blog very transparent. His honesty about his own failing deserves respect. A reader commented “Glad to know you are human. Always a fan…”. I can only agree. At the end Samsung got more media coverage with this outtake than it could wish for. And yes, also negative publicity is publicity and in many cases it turns out to be not as disastrous as previously expected. Samsung will surely still do very well selling these excellent new TV series.
Here are the Top 5 things to remember on stage
1. Take your 10 minutes before the show
Before my university time and later career as consultant, I performed in more than 100 Broadway-style musical shows with the international educational music program “Up with People”. For the whole cast, each show started in our so called “Greenroom”, a room where all of us gathered to motivate ourselves, to have fun and to focus our energy on the moment we step on stage. This experience helped me tremendously to overcome stage fright. I always recommend my clients to have this Greenroom moment before they have a public speech, presentation or important interview. And it does not need to be with a cast. Its your moment. Just take your 10 minutes to get ready. Focus. Do whatever you want to do to prepare yourself for your appearance. Calming down and empowering yourself at the same time is the tricky part though, that we need to learn for our 10 minutes before the show.
2. Set your goal
Every presentation or public speech should be well prepared. And I am not talking about learning pages of text by heart. I am talking about clarifying why you will be on stage, what your task will be “out there” and how you want to present yourself. What are you there for? Michael Bay’s goal was clear: Supporting Samsung by explaining why these new curved UHD Samsung TVs are truly a visual advancement for home entertainment. What is your goal when stepping on stage?
3. Know your storyline
Certainly, you should know what you are talking about. Be also well prepared in regards to the topic you are going to talk about on stage or with a journalist in an interview. Know the facts. But in product presentations like the Samsung one, there is lots of information we need to get across. And even though a teleprompter might be of help (you need to get used to read a teleprompter, too!), set your anchor points. Learn content, not text. Know what you need to say at what time. And in order to remember, define anchor points that help you to go step by step through your presentation. Having a teleprompter can be very helpful, but never trust technology – also not at a Samsung CES presentation. Know the story you want to fascinate with.
4. The show must go on
Whatever happens on stage: Never leave the stage. In my opinion, this is actually the only mistake, Michael Bay did: Leaving stage and leaving Samsung’s Joe Stinziano behind. Keep that in mind: You stay until your part is over. No matter what. In our Up with People musical we had a simple rule: Stay on your position whatever happens unless there is a fire. If the microphone does not work, do not run around. The tech crew will work on that. If it still does not work, they surely will hand you a handheld mic. In case all lights go off, stay! Trying to leave stage might end in a tragic accident when you fall off stage or stumble over cables. Whatever happens on stage, calm down. You know why you are there, you know what you want to say. Say it; even if this means you need some time to refocus.
5. Be human – stay cool
Even if you totally mess up on stage, stay cool. We are human beings, we have our failures, we do mistakes. And yes, sometimes we step on stage not as prepared as we should. But whatever. In that very moment on stage, give the best you can. It might happen that a blackout totally knocks you off, still – stay cool. If you get lost, simply ask for help. Be honest.
While traveling with the music program Up with People, in one of our first shows I totally forgot my lines. With the right panic expression in my face I gestured my partner my situation; he fortunately understood and quietly gave me the next sentence so I could step back in. Nobody even recognized. If you ever come in a Michael-Bay-Samsung-Situation, try honesty and humor: “Sorry Ladies and Gentlemen, but I am so excited about this excellent new Samsung TV that I completely forgot what I am supposed to say. Mr. Stinziano, would you be so kind and help me out?” Of course, most of us would never come up with a cool sentence like that in our very own Michael-Bay-Samsung-moment. But thats exactly what greenroom can be for: Get prepared. Learn one emergency sentence. What is your charming phrase when all goes wrong? How will you make the audience applaud even though you completely fail? Maybe agree on a special sign, phrase etc. for emergencies with your counterpart before you go on stage. Maybe you put a little talisman in your pocket that will remind you, whatever happens, this is your moment on stage and you will be great.
If you are interested to get more advice on media training, stage presence and public speaking, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
(Photo: © kasto – Fotolia.com)