The Many-Cooks Presentation:
The Assignment: Write, produce and orchestrate the 30-minute final presentation for Hamilton’s bid for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
The Process: The first meeting to discuss the presentation took place in Hamilton, Ontario on September 23rd. The final presentation was in Montego Bay, Jamaica on November 13th. The weeks in between were an intense period of multi-faceted feedback and a few twenty-hour work days. In the final eight days before the presentation, more than 40 different people provided input, many on a daily, sometimes even hourly basis. The roster of speakers and list of priorities changed frequently to reflect the growing understanding of the voting delegates. Of course, each strategic revision required new language, new rehearsals and continuing adherence to a strict 30-minute time allowance.
The Innovations: We created a dual-podium approach and wrote the presentation as a series of dialogues between speakers. This allowed us to exchange speakers seamlessly and use counterpoint to highlight key information. We mirrored that approach with two video screens showing a combination of video and dynamic Flash Player graphics.
The Results: During the presentation’s emotional conclusion, a number of delegates were literally moved to tears. As the presentation team left the platform to the bid song, the crowd clapped in unison and high-fived the presenters. One delegate who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee called the presentation the best he had ever seen for any games, including the Olympics.
The One-Line Speech:
Note: Most of the time, our writing is anonymous. We have made some small changes to the following case study to protect the identity of the speaker.
The Assignment: We received a note from a client asking for a 20 minute speech to deliver to a forum of transportation professionals. There was one line of guidance on topic: “the role of a research institution in the transition to the new economy.”
The Process: We researched everything from the forum’s other speakers to whether there was, in fact, a link between the suggested topic and transportation. We added our own thoughts and uncovered the speaker’s twenty-five year old scholarly work on – believe it or not – railway construction.
The Speech: Some speakers like to open with a joke. We opened with six – each designed to convey information we needed later in the speech. Then we moved from a discussion of the societal roles of transportation, education and research to specific examples tying the three fields together. The conclusion of the speech – which referenced an astronaut, an Olympian and an elevator executive – presented specific ways that the transportation, education and research fields could enhance their connections and advance the work of the professionals in the room.
The Results: The speaker’s staff liaison to the forum took so many positive calls and e-mails, she sent him a message saying, “Wow, they liked you … they really liked you!!”
The president of the forum sent this note:
Regarding the speech, I plan to have it posted on the website and send a link to all our members. I received a number of comments lauding the speech and asking for copies; the remarks hit a responsive chord with the audience and several people have been asking for the text.