OK, I didn’t see that coming—who would think that non-profit communicators could learn something from the world of professional wrestling?
No, really; I’m serious. (And I don't mean learning how to take a fall.)
Earlier this month secret notes prepared by Vince McMahon, owner of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), were leaked online.
The notes, for his on-air announcers, give ideas for how they can provide the best experience for the 39 million viewers in 150 countries who watch WWE’s over 300 events each year.
In the main, the ideas are pretty sensible; they are the kinds of things that will help anyone whose job it is to communicate with the public.
Here are some of the ideas Vince provides:
Be aware of what’s happening in the world (e.g. an earthquake in China, floods, etc.).
“Fully understand the history and heritage” of the WWE.
Have fun—you’re a fan. If you don’t like it, why should anyone else?
Be descriptive of the people you are talking about. “It gives them life and character.”
Quote the people involved—“it makes it mean more.”
Make sure your comments are believable and plausible. (Don’t exaggerate by saying someone is “the greatest of all time.”)
Don’t use passive words.
Less is more.
Don’t read notes prepared by others. “The audience can always tell when an announcer is reading and it is a total disconnect. Never read copy. Tell the story in your own words.”
Don’t yell. “Tone and inflection are more important than volume.”
Be conversational. “You are talking to a buddy in a bar!”
Slow down—there’s no rush!
Tell your stories succinctly and to the point.
It is not necessary to fill every moment with verbiage.
Avoid words like “obviously.”
Engage the audience. Ask provocative questions rather than telling them what to think.
Talk in soundbites.
All-in-all, it sounds like pretty good advice to me . . . .
See the entire leaked list here.