3 Takeaways from The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert

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The Late Show, Stephen Colbert
There’s nothing like a deep, hearty Late Show laugh.

Whether you stay up way too late on weeknights to catch Stephen Colbert’s latest commentary on the state of politics and pop culture or binge watch him on YouTube over the weekend, there’s nothing like a deep, hearty Late Show laugh.

Colbert first performed professionally as an understudy for Steve Carell and part of the famous Second City Chicago comedy troupe. It was his work as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and then his spinoff series The Colbert Report that led to the opportunity to take the helm of The Late Show after David Letterman left last year.

Following are three lessons meeting planners can take away from Colbert:

It’s a team effort

Improv is a team effort, no one player is the star. It’s the same with meeting planning. A competent travel director on site—one who would make the same decisions as you—can be one of your most valuable assets. Add in a hotel CSM who understands not only your meeting’s needs, but its mission, and you have the beginnings of a beautiful team.

Always try out new things

Comedy troupes sometimes add their new material at the end of the show to give it a test run (often referred to as the “third act”). Colbert is always trying out new approaches right on stage during his opening monologues and sometimes even comments to the audience when they are poorly received. Don’t be afraid to integrate new ideas and see how attendees react on site as well as what they say in the post-event survey. Every meeting can be used to test-market the next best thing.

It’s never too late to embrace social media

With 12.3 million Twitter followers catching a glimpse of his more personal side at @StephenAtHome and regular hilarious videos (like a recent one that went viral of him and Vice President Joe Biden calling for a “family meeting” after the election), Colbert is still lagging behind late night comedy’s two Jimmys (Fallon and Kimmel). But the good news is that he got the message and is catching up. Social media isn’t an option any more, it’s a natural extension of your meeting brand. It’s essential to build buzz before the meeting, engagement during it and loyalty afterwards. Be sure it’s a line item in the budget and a section of the strat plan.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.