Why Meetings Should be More Like The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
By Heather Pelletier, Engagement Unlimited, Vancouver, BC, © 2015
First let me openly confess…I love Jimmy Fallon. I want to be his friend. Who doesn’t? He’s the best!
Over two years ago, Fallon took over The Tonight Show (AKA Late Night) and what a difference! The picture below is a great example of this transformation.
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON — Episode 0062 — Pictured: (l-r) Actress Charlize Theron, announcer Steve Higgins, host Jimmy Fallon and actor Josh Hartnett play charades on May 20, 2014 — (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
A Justin-Jimmy duet was just the beginning. The show has been viewed over 2 billion times on YouTube, and has had a 41% ratings increase in the ages 18-49 demographic.
What has changed?
- Musical comedy interwoven throughout
- Game Playing
- Incorporation of technology
- A skilled host.
Fallon has created a new formula for success in late night TV. It includes showcasing guests’ talents, integrating social media, not taking himself too seriously, trying new things, and most importantly having lots of fun. My TV bestie is not just talented—he’s also playful, positive, charming, witty, and makes others around him feel relaxed so they can just be themselves.
In the meeting industry, we often get our inspiration from pop culture. I think there is a lot we can learn from Jimmy Fallon and a huge amount of inspiration to gain from him. While meetings are important and usually include serious learning and business opportunities, we can still interweave a bit of fun. In fact, new neuroscience research tells us that when playfulness is incorporated into learning, we retain much more than with traditional learning methods.
The end result? It is all about ROI. Late Night has had a 41% rating increase; why not shoot for a 41% attendee increase? 41% more learning retention? 41% more meaningful connections? 41% return on your meeting budget to the organization’s bottom line? All while having fun, and who doesn’t want that!?
Below are a few ideas inspired by my friend Jimmy (and implemented by Engagement Unlimited) to incorporate into you next meeting:
- Use musical comedy to communicate learning objectives. We change the lyrics of pop songs to reflect your content, add amusing characters, include some great dance moves, and encourage the audience to join in.
- Play hilarious games with challenges related to your content and educational needs. These don’t have to be at the expense of learning. Games are also opportunities for deeper connections among participants and generate shared memories that make conferences stand out.
- Find ways for your chairs or executives to deliver messages in playful ways. Remember when Jimmy Fallon slow jammed the news with Barak Obama? Imagine your president slow jamming his/her goals for next year. (And we’ll coach your executive to rise to this level of engagement.)
- Find a professional conference host who keeps the energy high, is a positive force, improvises short comedic ‘bits’ with speakers, and inspires the very best performances from your guests. THAT is Unlimited Engagement.