Just don’t be ordinary

I am always surprised to find myself sitting in a meeting, a presentation, or any other instance in which someone is speaking to an audience and the speaker chooses not to be interesting, amusing, thought-provoking, or just plain different. Whether you’re discussing a change in company policy, talking about your latest novel, training a team on a new piece of software, or introducing the keynote speaker, why not attempt to be original and memorable? Take advantage of the opportunity to do something or say something that people will remember. Whenever I have the opportunity to speak to an audience, large or small, I try to find a way to make my time in the spotlight, however dim it may be, as unique and impressive and funny as possible, regardless of the topic.

After all, how many ordinary, PowerPoint-guided presentations can a person deliver before realizing that he or she could probably be replaced by an online tutorial, a four-page booklet, or perhaps even a simple sheet of paper containing the necessary information? I’m not saying that every meeting, training session, and book talk must feature a comedian or entertainer, but at least make an effort to do something different.

Stale and staid and ordinary has been done already. Move on. Try something new. I may not always be successful, but I make an effort.

Why not? Right?

These thoughts filled my mind when I came across NPR’s twist on their Page Not Found link. Someone at NPR is clearly thinking along these same lines.  Rather than simply returning the reader with the usual webpage indicating a failed search, NPR put a clever and unique spin on this typically mundane encounter and earned a lot of credit in my book.

They managed to create an amusing and memorable Page Not Found experience. And you know what? It didn’t take much to do so.