The Pink Floyd Test

I'm giving away my age and influences here, but I've found there's a critical moment in presentations and teaching that I call the Pink Floyd test. 

It goes back to their song, Another Brick in the Wall, which laments the dark sarcasm and dull slogs of days at school. 

To grab and hold an audience, one of the first things you've got to do as a presenter is convince them your session isn't going to be like those teeth-grinding memories of schooldays. 

I gave a workshop on Mastering the Media in Cambridge this week (thanks to all who came along for such an entertaining morning.)

I started the session by simulating a mock newsroom, with stories coming at the group from all angles, and them being forced to choose which were the most important. 

It's a good icebreaker because it gets people thinking, talking to each other, working together, and interacting with me. 

And critically, it's fun. 

Which is a very big part of convincing a group that your time together isn't going to be like a lesson from school. 

But there's something else which is even more important. 

Anyone can try to have fun for an hour, cracking bad jokes (in my case, anyway), and larking around. 

But that won't wash. You'll soon be rumbled. Because alongside the fun, there has to be the content. 

No good content = losing the group just as quickly as an advanced calculus maths lesson squared (I did warn you about the jokes.)

But get the balance right - entertaining and enjoyable session + strong and relevant content = happy and informed group. 

Which is why the newsroom exercise is so effective.

Alongside the entertainment, it gives a real insight into what some days as a reporter can be like - vital to know in dealing with journalists. 

And one more thing.

A session that ticks all those boxes, and passes the Pink Floyd test, makes for a happy and fulfilled presenter, too - which means a win all round.