A Charlie Brown Christmas Lesson

It’s hard for me to believe that Christmas is this week. The beautiful weather, this being our first winter in Los Angeles, some how makes Christmas feel far away still. So we spent yesterday getting into the spirit of Christmas with a lineup of our holiday favorites including Elf, Scrooged, Bad Santa and Love Actually. We finished the list with a true classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas.

For 50 years now, A Charlie Brown Christmas has been watched by families around the world, a seemingly timeless way to celebrate the holiday. No matter your beliefs, as an entrepreneur preparing to take the stage and pitch your business, there is something to be learned watching this holiday classic.

Like many business owners, Linus, Charlie Brown’s best friend, is an introvert, wise, yet quirky in his own way. When the situation calls upon him to do so, Linus puts all of his insecurities aside and masterfully takes the stage. (Well, most of his insecurities; he did choose to bring the blanket on stage with him!)

Aside from the true meaning of Christmas, here are a few things that Linus and his speech can remind us of: 

Stories are a quick way to get your audience’s attention. 

When Charlie Brown frustratedly asks if anybody really knows what Christmas is about, Linus takes the stage to show that he does indeed know the true meaning of Christmas. To quickly make his point, Linus chooses to tell a familiar story, the annunciation to the shepherds. The story paints a memorable and meaningful picture that Charlie and his friends can easily relate to.

When presenting your business, you can capture the attention of your audience through meaningful stories. Whether it’s a situation they will easily relate to or simply a personal story that will build a connection among them, a well told story can be memorable and effective. 

Take control of your setting.

Before answering Charlie Brown’s question, Linus walks to center stage and requests, “Lights, please?”. He sets the stage for a more impactful delivery.

While you may not have control of lights and the setting when presenting, it is important that you familiarize yourself and maximize your presence with the setting provided. Don’t stand behind a podium, if you don’t have to. Use the space provided, walking to different points of the floor with intention. Without being difficult, it is important that you take control of your presentation setting and do what you can to make it comfortable for you and impactful for your audience.

Know that there are friends in the room.  

Linus knows that he is among friends. As he gets a few lines into his speech, a sense of comfort allows him to let go of  his cherished blanket.

As you set out to deliver your next presentation, know that your audience showed up to listen to you. They genuinely want you to do well. And if the circumstances allow, you should invite some of your friends to sit in the audience. Having friendly faces to focus on in the audience can often help set your nerves at ease. 

As you’re preparing to kick-off 2015, finding inspiration everywhere, even in holiday classics, can help set you on the path to success.  

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