Staging one consistent customer story

Watching from the wings

Before a show or presentation, you will usually find me waaaay up in the lighting rig, hanging precariously from a gantry and peering at the top of the audience's heads. This is not just to hype myself up (although it is very focussing), or convince myself that my hairline is receding slower than many. Instead, I am trying to feel the vibe, and predict how the show will need to be tonight.

In his book The Invisible Actor, master actor Oida Yoshi (called Yoshi Oida in the West) says:

"Too often actors sit in their dressing rooms or the green room, listening to the tannoy for their cues. Once they hear the stage manager call their names, they go up into the wings, ready to make their entrance. [This] is completely unhelpful in terms of good storytelling. There is only one story being told by a team of actors; not ten different stories being told by ten actors. Therefore, you need to be there in the wings from the very beginning, in order to see how other actors are telling the story".

Anyone staging a customer experience is faced by the very same problem. And remember, the "actors" in a customer experience are not just the staff, but also the customers. So ask yourself:

• What opportunity do my staff have to see how "the story" of our daily business is going, enabling them to start in with the appropriate energy and preparation?

• What opportunity do my staff have to learn how "the story" of this particular customer's encounter with us is going, helping them to take over with the appropriate energy and preparation?

And even:

• How do I let my customer see how far along we are in his "story"? Does he have the feeling af a beginning, a middle and an end? Or, better yet, a hook, exposition, climax and resolution?

Stage wings pic from pimpampum at flickr


Office Humorist said...

Adam--that's pretty cool, I've never thought about being above the audience. One of my favorite ways to start an improv show is to be planted in the crowd and to do an improvised town meeting to start off the performance--it's surprising to the audience and also is a great way to be with them to see what they laugh at and talk with individuals one on one.

Adam StJohn Lawrence. said...

Nice one! I've done similar things in business theater - being "under cover" among the audience then suddenly singing or dropping dead.

Only nearly got shot once :-0