Catchbox Case Study
The Conference that Teaches You Funny
Published on: Sep 13, 2016
As business, entertainment, and comedy become ever more intertwined, savvy startups, leading ad agencies, and Fortune 500 firms alike are turning to humor as the ultimate tool for being memorable amidst the ringtones and vibrations of modern life.
The highly popular FunnyBizz Conference is just that. A one-day event packed with the best comedic content creators in the world sharing their techniques for abolishing boring content.
David Nihill, author of ‘Do You Talk Funny’, and founder of the FunnyBizz Conference is here to tell us how he didn’t want to do the conference without Catchbox in the first place:
Bring In the Funny Guns
“I came up with the genius idea to pretend to be a professional comedian for a year. It wasn’t really the best plan I’ve ever had, but once I got started I thought might as well keep going.”
“It was along the way that I met all these guys that were creating humorous content. Some of them were doing a really good job at selling their skills to companies, but a lot of them couldn’t really bridge that gap.
“I thought, what if we could take all these guys that were creating humorous content, companies that are big fans of that kind of content, and put them all in the same room. We’d say well here you go here’s how I did it, here’s how you can do it too, here’s what happened in the campaign, and here’s some of the technique to replicate it. And that was where the idea for the conference was born.”
Were Your Attendees Even there?
“If your audience is not engaged, I mean were they really even there? At any event, you need to engage people with the content you’re putting out there.”
“If they are passively consuming something that isn’t really making an impression on them, it’s hard for you to leave them with something that’s gonna motivate, inspire or get them to come back again.”
The Height of Listening
“There’s a great expression: The end of laughter is followed by the height of listening. Basically, the most attentive you’ll ever be is the moment right after somebody’s made you laugh. Because then you’re like hah, I want more of that! It’s kinda like a natural dopamine injection.”
“However, the average business speaker is boring the pants off of the audience. Not intentionally, but a lot of the time for the same reasons that there’s boring content out there. They just haven’t gone back to their material and thought ok how do I edit this to be more engaging, and how do I squeeze in one or two funny bits.”
“These days people almost expect you to be entertaining when you’re on stage. Whether you know it or not, they expect you to be a performer – to make good use of their time. And that’s just something comedy has always been a really good at.”
No Catchbox, No Conference
We’ve all been to those Q&A sessions where the speaker just stands there after delivering a fantastic speech. They know they’ll have to face that awkward moment where someone’s running around with a microphone.”
“I mean, Q&A is traditionally such a pain point for both the audience and the speaker. When I found out about Catchbox, I instantly thought that this will solve everything.
“Catchbox was literally the first thing we bought before we had any money for any form of publicity, before we paid a deposit on a venue, even before we paid anything, we bought the box. I didn’t even want to do the conference without one of these, and it’s been that way ever since.”
Who’s Got the Box?
“The concern we had from the start was that now we need find the right person to control the catchbox. For us, the moderators’ job became extremely important.
“Once the audience realizes that this is a live mic that can be thrown at any moment, then they don’t expect silence. They expect that person to comment. So what we couldn’t have was someone walking around with a Catchbox and not being enthusiastic about it.”
“Because you’re essentially an assistant host when you’re throwing around Catchbox, we’ve been very conscious to put people on that job that are going to be naturally enthusiastic and witty. That way the entertainment goes up for everybody.”
“I’ve been to conferences using Catchbox and in some the moderator didn’t say anything while moderating the box. That nearly defaults the purpose of the product for everybody in the audience.”
Catch, Question, Release
“We generally get the audience to pass it back to the moderator. Otherwise they hold onto it for too long and give you their life stories. It’s very much catch, question, release. Then the moderator takes over again, and actively solicits them to throw it back after they’ve asked their question.”
“From a production point of view, we don’t want them to go into their life stories. As the box moves through the room, we do get the audience to pass it along through each other.”
“Most importantly, we still want to avoid the awkward moments that can come with Q&A sessions, regardless what microphone you are using. I think that with proper use of Catchbox, it eliminates nearly all those awkward moments.”
The Television that Talks Back
“I’ve been to lots of events without Catchbox and to be honest, it sucks. There is absolutely no comparison. Catchbox allows you bring life to something that normally sucks the life out of most conferences.”
“The event stops being a passively consumed production, much like television. All of a sudden the television talks back, and the television can interact with the audience while they’re watching it. I think that’s big for upping engagement and keeping people on the edge of their seats.“
You’re Gonna Need a Referee
I think Catchbox works best when you have somebody external to the presenter handling it. Plus that person has to be entertaining, enthusiastic and have high levels of energy.”
“I mean, you’ve basically thrown a football to a bunch of bored business people and said go play. You need someone whos gonna be vocal enough to make sure where the box is going.
“So I’d say the most important advice is related to moderating – try not to have the actual conference host be the same person who moderates the Q&A via Catchbox .”
Thank you David for sharing your Catchbox Story with us! Find more information about FunnyBizz and ‘Do You Talk Funny’ below. Photos provided by FunnyBizz.
Do You Talk Funny – the Book
Do You Talk Funny?: 7 Comedy Habits to Become a Better (and Funnier) Public Speaker shows how the key principles of stand-up comedy can be applied to your speaking engagements and presentations to make you funnier, more interesting, and better looking. (Or at least two of the three.) Whether you are preparing for a business presentation, giving a wedding toast, defending your thesis, raising money from investors, or simply want to take on something you’re afraid of, this book will take you from sweaty to stage-ready.
On Amazon: Do You talk Funny?
David is the Founder of FunnyBizz, a community, writer platform, and conference series, where business meets humor to abolish boring content. His work has been featured in Inc., Lifehacker, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, The Irish Times, and Forbes. A graduate of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School he wears a tie, but only to bungee jump.
LinkedIn: David Nihill
In the land of infinite distraction, the one who tickles the funny bone reigns supreme. As business, entertainment, and comedy become ever more intertwined, savvy startups, leading ad agencies, and Fortune 500 firms alike are turning to humor as the ultimate tool for being memorable amidst the ringtones and vibrations of modern life.
At FunnyBizz, we teach you how to tap into humor’s power. In just one (raucously entertaining) day, our elite roster of speakers will teach you essential principles of comedy, improv and storytelling, how to apply those concepts to you and your business, and generally show you how being funny can make you more successful.