Yeah, your kid’s cute. Now what?

Vintage portraitEarlier this month I attended a seminar where I was exposed to many presenters and their various presentation styles. One presenter barely referred to his PowerPoint slides at all, instead relying on his dynamic personality and evangelical delivery style to get his message across. Most were seasoned presenters whose slides really supported their messages. Others, less used to public speaking, got off to a shaky start and improved as they went on.

A presenter who made an impression on me was a man who seemed a little nervous at first (understandable, since there had to be more than a hundred people in the room). To break the ice, he talked about how if he could do inbound marketing, so could anybody. Then he cued a short video of his kids enthusiastically yelling “You can do it, Daddy!” After the video the room was silent for a moment, then the presenter picked up where he’d left off.

The effect on me of the presenter’s video was to publicize and focus on his own nervousness at presenting to a crowd. It was intended to provide a light moment, but actually it was a little awkward. Did we really need to see an affirmation?

Now, don’t get me wrong; I love kids. They’re fun, playful, cute, and full of surprises. Heck, I even made two so I could have ’em around to play with. But I have never understood why people use their own kids to advertise their businesses. From radio spots with a little boy squeaking “My daddy can make your old car look like new!” to a picture of an adorable little girl in a print ad for a product that has nothing at all to do with children, people seem to think that if a kid pitches the product then people will absolutely buy it. Instead, it seems like a transparent ploy to attract people’s attention and get them on their side.

My advice is that unless your presentation has something to do with kids, or you’ve got a kid cameo in your deck that proves a point, then you should leave the young ‘uns at home.

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