HBO's The Comeback is back, and with it one of television's original Reality TV "It Girls," Valerie Cherish. From the mind of Lisa Kudrow and Michael Patrick King, the show about a slipping-in-celebrity celebrity (Valerie, played brilliantly by Lisa Kudrow) trying to make her comeback in the business through both scripted and reality television is a cult classic of the "cringe" dramedy genre. (Think The Office, Stephen Merchant's Hello Ladies, or the yeeek-worthy Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm) After the first season originally aired almost 10 years ago (!) , HBO brought the series back so we could all enjoy the trials of Valerie once again.
Sure, Valerie is (more often than not) off-the-mark. While she spouts about her own professionalism, her interpersonal skills are severely lacking. Lost to her self-involvement, Valerie often holds her own hand over the fire without even knowing it; she backs herself into a corner time and time again thanks to her lack of self-awareness. But beneath the messy exterior there is a heart of gold (as the old trope goes) and we laugh, and yes, cringe, right along with her every move.
However, that doesn't mean that there is nothing to be learned from the exploits of Miss Cherish! When it comes to presenting herself, her material, or her art, she employs some of the most creative presentation ideas around.
Here are 4 tips to take from Valerie's navigation of the business world. (Even if the tip is to run in the opposite direction of what she's doing!)
1. Do it up big!: We're not telling you to go out and be insanely over-the-top in your next presentation or business meeting, but what Valerie does, she does all the way. Big smile, fully realized gestures, strong, audible (if occasionally unpleasant...) vocals are part of what keeps her winning even when she loses. You'll never engage an audience when you're presenting halfway. On the other hand, it is incredibly difficult to look away from this (and no, it's not just the gawking-at-a-car-wreck factor...).
2. Rehearsal is important: We've said it before, we'll say it again: you can have the most creative presentation ideas in the world, but without rehearsal they're not going to fly as well as they could. One of the things The Comeback shows again and again is Valerie rehearsing. While her dedication to the business may be a bit misguided, she is certainly willing to give it her all. In this clip, Valerie is working to find the perfect delivery of her soon-to-be catch phrase, "I don't want to see that!", and the rehearsal goes on for hours. You've got to put in the time before you present if you want to truly impact your audience. (We can help you manage your rehearsal time with this post about rehearsal calendars.) We advise you to follow Ms. Cherish's lead on this one. (Although you might want to avoid the cake.)
3. Everyone needs to be heard: Especially when you're running a Q&A, you need to not only make sure that you are literally being heard volume-wise, but that you're checking for understanding with your audience; that your message is being heard and received, and that you are correctly hearing and understanding what is being asked of you. Feel free to ask questions like, "What I hear you asking is________. Is that correct?" or "Did my response answer your question?" This also opens the floor to creative discussion, and inspires your audience to really get to the bottom of what they need from you. Everyone wants to feel heard. Just be sure to ask a bit more nicely than Valerie (as shown in the link above.)
4. Don't be afraid — you will survive: Speaking in front of others can be a scary thing (understatement of the year). To embrace creativity when you present means you have to embrace being YOU in front of others — your personal stamp is the best creative presentation idea you can have. Rehearse, warm up pre-presentation, and then jump in with both feet. Just like Valerie does in this rendition of the Gloria Gaynor classic.
Valerie certainly is one of a kind, and we love one of a kind. What are some of your best creative presentation ideas? Let us know in the comments below!