Whether you stay up way too late on weeknights to catch Stephen Colbert’s latest commentary on the state of politics and pop culture or binge watch him on YouTube over the weekend, there’s nothing like a deep, hearty Late Show laugh.
Colbert first performed professionally as an understudy for Steve Carell and part of the famous Second City Chicago comedy troupe. It was his work as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and then his spinoff series The Colbert Report that led to the opportunity to take the helm of The Late Show after David Letterman left last year.
Following are three lessons meeting planners can take away from Colbert:
It’s a team effort
Improv is a team effort, no one player is the star. It’s the same with meeting planning. A competent travel director on site—one who would make the same decisions as you—can be one of your most valuable assets. Add in a hotel CSM who understands not only your meeting’s needs, but its mission, and you have the beginnings of a beautiful team.
Always try out new things
Comedy troupes sometimes add their new material at the end of the show to give it a test run (often referred to as the “third act”). Colbert is always trying out new approaches right on stage during his opening monologues and sometimes even comments to the audience when they are poorly received. Don’t be afraid to integrate new ideas and see how attendees react on site as well as what they say in the post-event survey. Every meeting can be used to test-market the next best thing.
It’s never too late to embrace social media
With 12.3 million Twitter followers catching a glimpse of his more personal side at @StephenAtHome and regular hilarious videos (like a recent one that went viral of him and Vice President Joe Biden calling for a “family meeting” after the election), Colbert is still lagging behind late night comedy’s two Jimmys (Fallon and Kimmel). But the good news is that he got the message and is catching up. Social media isn’t an option any more, it’s a natural extension of your meeting brand. It’s essential to build buzz before the meeting, engagement during it and loyalty afterwards. Be sure it’s a line item in the budget and a section of the strat plan.