Mark Lewisohn’s engaging book TUNE IN: THE BEATLES: ALL THESE YEARS contains some insightful business lessons for business professionals everywhere . . . especially those of us who must give presentations or put on a live event.
Second lesson: “Mach shau! Mach shau!” Live events should entertain.
When the early Beatles first arrived in seedy club area of Hamburg, Germany back in the summer of 1960, they got up on the small stage in the Indra Club and did what they thought they were hired to do: stand there and perform the rock and roll songs they loved. They thought that would be enough . . . but the club owner, Bruno Koschmider, thought this was terrible. He ran up to the stage and started shouting, “Mach shau! Mach shau!” Which translated, means: “Make show!” or, said another way, “Put on a show!” He wanted to keep his customers entertained.
John Lennon’s response to this was a sarcastic one: he instantly started dancing around he stage like a gorilla and acting (in their words) “like a spastic.” The audience responded with laughter. In time the Beatles learned to find some more subtle (and sometimes even more overt) ways to inject fun and entertainment into their performances every night by injecting humor, involving the audience, surprising them, and bringing even more enthusiasm to their performances. Their antics became so popular that the audiences began to regularly shout, “Mach shau! Mach shau!” The Beatles obliged and this added greatly to their popularity.
If you or your business has to communicate a message to an audience (whether it’s a simple presentation, an online campaign, or a live multi-day event to a massive audience), don’t just get up there and do what you think is expected of you: put on a show! I’m certainly not suggestion you act silly for no reason, but think creatively about how you can entertain your audience and make your content more engaging and interactive and memorable for all involved.
We’re sometimes afraid of “entertainment” in business, but if putting on a show for people also means you will be injecting more passion, engaging moments, surprises, humor, and impact into your presentation . . . then don’t hesitate to “Mach shau!”
(BTW: If you need some help to “Mach shau!” – call MIG. Lesson Three coming soon!)