A gathering of executive briefing center professionals in Boston last week had a ball.
Well, they passed it (or took it!) as they improvised the handoffs that occur between customers and briefing program personnel at the start of an event.
Having been in hundreds of live theatre performances I know the spots where we are most likely to lose our audience–Transitions.
It’s a risk so critical that we, during technical rehearsals, make time to practice only the transitions between scenes. It’s called a “cue-to-cue”. Not only does this special focus address all the technical concerns, it allows actors to adjust their timing, hit their entrance and exit marks and keep audiences engaged in the rhythm of the story.
THERE IS NO ROOM FOR ERROR. WE WILL LOSE OUR AUDIENCE. WE WON’T LET THAT HAPPEN.
Our “Staging Your Story: Dynamic Design & Delivery on Your Briefing Center Stage” Boston session highlighted the challenges of “handoff” where one briefing center staff member transfers the customer to another. Smooth transitions are an imperative in the telling of a seamless story, one in which the customer must stay engaged and not be confused during handoffs from space to space or person to person.
The impromptu exercise also spotlighted the nature of each person’s role and the clarity (or lack thereof) of each. There may be the person who welcomes the customer, the briefing facilitator, the center manager, executives, SMEs and account team members who are all eager to greet the customer. If roles aren’t clear, if no one manages these transitions, the customer’s head will spin, confused in the barrage of well-intentioned greetings.
We used a blue foursquare ball to highlight the ownership of each interaction starting with the customer from whom the ball is taken, then taken by another and yet another as each person introduces themselves and explains their role. One person, playing an over-eager center manager dashed in and grabbed the ball forcefully! What message does that send to everyone involved?
All the while the customer is trying to stay in the story and figure out who can actually help them get what they want. What they really want is their ball back.
It’s not only executive briefing centers that benefit from studying transitions. Customer service organizations, retail outlets, service businesses, team presenters and meeting leaders need to think through this, practice it and clarify roles of all involved.
With all the incoming messages a customer receives these days the one thing they appreciate is clarity of story–who does what and how each “actor” can help. Risk losing them in transitions and you risk losing them to your competition.
Contact Me for help in the process and practice of your team’s performance and minimize the risk of your customers getting lost in transition.
It’s your stage. Your performance. And with clarity of roles and practiced transitions, you’re on!