COULD SANTA EVER PUT A BIG, BLACK BOOT WRONG?

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015 by Liz

Yesterday was one of those really exciting days… as a relatively new parent, each milestone achievement or experience my 20 month old son Niall goes through fills me with pride.

And yesterday was no exception, as I took him to see Santa in his grotto!

We arrived for our pre-booked slot at our local garden centre and were quickly whisked away with some other young families into a magical world of Christmas…

Hundreds of Christmas trees, decorated with thousands of fairy lights, lined the pathway to the entrance, fake snow and icicles adorned every visible surface and there were even two real reindeers wandering around!

Santa’s Elves guided us to the entrance to the grotto where Mrs Claus greeted and accompanied us into the most decorated living room you have ever seen.

As logs burned on the fireplace, Santa snored away happily in his rocking chair.

The children got comfy in their beanbag seats as us parents readied our cameras and waited for the magic to happen…

As any parent will tell you, children are a tough crowd, mercilessly honest and easily bored…

Things began to unravel as Mrs Clause encouraged the children to wake Santa up by shouting to him, his pretend spluttering waking jibber of “oh, for goodness sake!” left the children more confused than entertained…

Then, for no apparent reason, Santa decided to start playing to the (fee paying) parent audience rather than focusing on the children.

What unfurled was a series of slightly dodgy jokes about Grandmas using Botox and a very long and meandering story that left the older children bored and the younger ones fidgeting with confusion.

A few of the younger children, my son included, began to cause mischief by removing baubles and tinsel from the numerous Christmas trees as the older children gave their parents that look.

Santa did however manage to pull things around with a lovely 5 minutes sing song and a present for every child in the room – disaster adverted!

It’s fair to say though, that Niall’s visit to Santa had not quite gone as expected.

So, as someone who heads up the training division of Europe’s most successful presentation design company, I have come up with a few words of wisdom for Santa…

• Audience first, every time.
• If the audience is mixed, focus on the main group and don’t try and please everybody (it won’t happen). Chances are that if your main audience are happy, the remainder will be OK with it too – i.e. happy children = happy parents.
• Content shouldn’t get in the way of a strong engagement – trim down the content so that your audience don’t have to fight the temptation to run away, fall asleep or tug at room décor.

These words of advice will come in handy for all seasonal Santa’s and a fair few business presenters too…

 

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