February: SuperBowl Lessons for Speakers

Lessons for Speakers from the SuperBowlWe just had Super Bowl XLVII (47). I hope you watched it. If for nothing else, than from a communication point of view (you will be surprised to see where you will uncover Speaking Lessons when you learn to look for them)…….And to see how a company believes they can deliver $4M of value in 30 seconds.

What we did not hear was the usual comment from the announcers: “He’s been there before.” Meaning that the team, the coach, or the players have played in the Super Bowl before, they don’t get flustered with the (big) event, they know what to expect from the pressures they are about to walk into.

In this case, it was the announcers (and TV people) who had to show that they’ve “been there before” by professionally stepping up to deal with a challenging situation. The power went out in half the stadium, and took the lights with them. The game stopped. All those producing and presenting the show now had to deal with an unknown amount of downtime to fill in with meaningful information. The seasoned veterans did well. The announcers actually seemed to enjoy the extra time to share their football knowledge.

Regarding commercials, there were the usual good ones (Check out this infographic on which Brand scored Highest through Social Media): the funny ones, the patriotic ones, the warm ones, the surprises. What seemed new this year was the amount of audience involvement via online connections: Instagram, texting, voting for the winner in a contest in a commercial. The online viewing audience at www.CBSsports.com/SuperBowl could pick the camera they wanted to watch and even pick, from three, who one camera should follow. They empowered the audience to vote which was better about the Oreo: the cream or the cookie. The audience could vote on who should win the race to the bottle of Coke. You could even text in to watch a replay.  Even Oreo got in the game but taking advantage of the power outage and presenting that in their almost instantaneous commercials on ‘you can still dunk in the dark’.

So what were the big take-away less0ns for speakers from the Super Bowl?

  1.        Involve the audience
  2.        Remember to include technology
  3.        Be ready to stretch your presentation: power outage, next speaker is late
  4.        Be a 10,000-hour professional, ready to deal with the unexpected

Speaker lessons are everywhere when you open your eyes to what’s going on around you (as will some surprise speech topics as well!).  So while you are out there networking with people, watch what’s going on around you and submit a lesson for speakers here in the comments!

To your Speaking Success,



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