I grew up in the days when professional wrestling didn’t have a national presence but had regional outfits. The Wright brothers and I would go with their dad to Richwoods High School and watch sweaty men throw chairs at each other. And we also watched the wrestlers, too.
So, it was with great interest when I came across this story at Fast Company: “10 Things Corporations Can Learn from Pro Wrestling.” Here are a few worthy snippets:
- An Appropriate Level of Spectacle Is Crucial: In pro wrestling, steel cages are always 15 feet high. Tall competitors are nearly 7 feet tall. Crowds are always “hanging from the rafters.” Wrestling shows pull out all the stops to make their shows as dramatic as possible. On the other hand, wrestling promoters can’t overdo it. Case-in-point: the now defunct-World Championship Wrestling put on a live three-hour television show every week, with the announcers constantly proclaiming it was “the biggest main event in the history of the show.” Eventually, nothing they did could feel special anymore. While corporate communicators may not want to be so guilty of exaggeration and hyperbole, big events should always be conducted with a dramatic flair. However, it’s also crucial to save that drama for the particularly “big” moments (in the case of the WWE, big pay-per-view events like Wrestlemania) so that it will be truly effective.
- Humor and Charisma Always Make a Connection: Many a wrestling villain has suddenly become a hero because of his gift of gab on the microphone. Even when audiences don’t want to, they often can’t help but be won over. Likewise, many wrestlers pushed to be fan favorites, or “faces” in wrestling parlance, are met with silence if they don’t have that natural connection. Corporate communicators have to value that human connection and cannot underestimate the importance of wit, charm and authenticity. As they say in WWE, the best performers are those who “play themselves, with the volume turned up.”
Read the whole story here.