Don begins an interview by sharing his new book Transforming Public Speaking with Clown Presence.
The inspiration to write this book came during the pandemic when the exhibition industry shifted to a virtual trade show experience. During that time, he realised that his public speaking courses had a lot of clown types of training, and it can help people better connect and engage with their audiences.
Throughout the years, he concluded that these courses are specifically useful for people who are not used to speaking in front of an audience and non-native speakers who are concerned about their grammar. It helped them show up, be themselves, and engage authentically with others.
Don also shared his thoughts on the common mistakes booth reps and booth staff is making. According to him, the three biggest challenges he sees at the trade shows are:
First – training or picking the right people to be your first engagers, as the first impression is very critical;
Second – visibility. A lot of time, the booth designs cause problems by blocking a bunch of areas, which decreases the chance for attendees to visit their booth in the first place;
Third – presentations. As presentations are usually too long and hard to follow if it’s longer than 7 minutes.
Don discussed the importance of positive energy in the booth. The more positive energy you can achieve, the more you attract visitors walking past your booth.
The other thing Don spoke about is vulnerability and authenticity. His job role experience at trade shows as a clown showed him that telling jokes, making fun of yourself, and at the same time being highly knowledgeable about the product you are talking about makes you more attractive to attendees as people are more drawn to sincere human interaction.
Lee and Don talked about the attendee journey and how to optimise the attendee’s engagement and achieve the best results.
Don also discussed how critical it is to use storytelling to build a strong relationship with the attendee at the booth—for example, sharing personal experiences or telling technical stories your company has solved. It makes people feel special and more trusted.
We are thankful to Don for the time he spent with us and talking about his book as well as sharing his knowledge and expertise on a truly fascinating subject.
We hope you enjoy the interview!
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