I recently put on a 60-minute Manifesto workshop for 35 small business owners. Being one of three speakers for an afternoon workshop, I spoke last in the 4 to 5 pm time slot.
As I put together my PowerPoint the week before, I kept thinking I need to make it uber engaging because of two challenges. First of all, it was part of a favorite networking group my business partner belonged to. And secondly, my time to present came at the end of the day - that low blood sugar time when yawns take over the audience.
Needless to say, this was definitely not one of those "phoned-in" kind of presentations.
I started off with a little sugar...you know the old axiom that says begin every talk with a powerful fact, quote or story to engage your audience. So to open up, I used Bill Bernbach, guru from the golden age of advertising (1960s), and one of his most famous quotes:
"In advertising (business), not to be different is virtually suicidal."
And yes, it worked just as advertised. From then on, I had their complete and undivided attention.
Through the next 59 minutes, I talked about how manifestos have been with us since the Ten Commandments. I shared some favorite manifestos of mine and why I found the words exceptional. And I took them through all the reasons their businesses needed more than just mission, vision and values.
In today's marketplace, a manifesto is an imperative. In fact, it is one of three essential documents we counsel our clients to have in place if they want to create an effective and sustainable organization.
I watched my audience take copious notes, stay focused on my slides and interact with the occasional head nod.
They learned the words that best describe a manifesto comes down to a one-two punch:
For a manifesto gets people motivated. It creates an emotional connection. It motivates them to rally around a common cause. And it becomes the reason for their getting out of bed in the morning.
By five o'clock that evening, they knew how to craft their company's own brand manifesto.
The teacher, in turn, learned about the unique story of eachorganization, about the purpose and why it matters.
My biggest take-away was simple. We all have a hunger to do more, to give more, to be more.
And that might very well be the most important lesson in life.