Tuesday Buzz: Avoid Presenter Gimmicks at Your Events

An association CEO rants about a common speaker gimmick at leadership events—and why it's not relevant to his needs. Also: lessons from the return of Twin Peaks.

Leadership requires a chain of command, an understanding of the skills that your team has, and effective discipline.

What it does not require is a setup like a Navy SEAL team. That’s the opinion of Eric Lanke, CEO of the National Fluid Power Association, who says he often sees speakers with military backgrounds at leadership events, and he wonders why event planners think the dots even connect.

“I’m not building or leading a Navy SEAL team,” he writes in what he calls a “rant.” “I’m running a 10-staff person trade association headquartered in Milwaukee with a $3 million budget. And I’m really not sure what one has to do with the other.”

While there may be some universal leadership lessons from military life, “aren’t those lessons better conveyed through a context that is more similar to the world I actually live in?” he asks.

It’s a good reminder not to wander too far afield with your educational offerings.

The Art of the Subtle Big Announcement

A quarter-century ago, David Lynch held mainstream audiences spellbound when he created Twin Peaks, a murder-mystery TV series that burned like a dying star: It shone bright and was massive for about a season and a half, then it quickly burned out in season two and was canceled soon after its main plot point was revealed. (With shows like Breaking Bad and Lost setting the stage for series-long suspense, it might have done better had it been released in this century.)

Twin Peaks scored big on spectacle and faded when it couldn’t keep that spectacle up.

Which is why, perhaps, the announcement of the show’s return to Showtime was so effective: only two cryptic tweets from show creator David Lynch and a modest teaser.

In a way, it reflects the way culture has changed. Marketing is less about heavy promotion and advertising and more about who’s doing the talking. Lynch has 1.87 million followers on Twitter, as well as a strong reputation. He doesn’t need to do much more than drop cryptic references. The internet does the rest.

Can you envision situations where subtlety might work better than traditional promotion to build buzz for your offerings?

Other Neat links

Fortunes can change quickly. Example? Apple’s sapphire materials supplier filed for bankruptcy Monday, weeks after news surfaced that the tech giant wasn’t using sapphire glass in its iPhone 6 screens.

The latest in event startups: Event Manager Blog‘s Julius Solaris has the scoop on innovative tools like Locometric and Rocketboard.

Budding illustrator? Get the hang of Adobe’s difficult-to-use Bézier curve-based pen tool with this new game.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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