Seminars / workshops are a great tool to show thought leadership, promote your product/service and most importantly engage with potential and existing customers alike.
Here are 12 tips to help you maximise the customer engagement/learning opportunity:
- Facilitate don’t Lecture – effective presenters engage conversation and guide the learning process, rather than talk down to audiences. The participants are your best tool, acknowledge them by integrating them & their knowledge into your delivery.
- Ask the audience what they expect – Everyone turns up with different expectations. Do a quick poll around the room as to what people are expecting to get from the day. Make sure you either cover that material or acknowledge up front you will not be covering it. Write up key themes on a flip chart to ensure you do actually cover the topics requested. At the end go back to list and acknowledge each issue. Also get them to introduce themselves, it helps participants work out who to target and avoid during the breaks.
- Don’t over script – Have structure and flow to the content you deliver. Go with the flow of the participant questions and their hot topics. I will use a standard set of slides, but speak differently to them dependant on the audience, using my arsenal of stories/examples to illustrate points, dependant on the audience. You are the subject matter expert, so trust yourself to deliver the magic.
- Death by PowerPoint: Never, never read power point slides – your PowerPoint is a supporting actor, you are the main act. Get a balance between text, diagrams and other graphics on your slides. The worst presentations/ seminars I have attended all either had text only slides or too many low quality images. Remember the power of the message is inversely proportional to the number of words and if a diagram or picture is worth a 1000 words. Use istock.com or the like to get some professional low cost royalty free images and take the time to create powerful diagrams. Also use a good projector and leave lights on and blinds open.
- Use attendee examples: Get people to apply the knowledge on the spot and share back their thoughts – people will observe flaws in other people well before themselves. Using examples from the attendees will make it a more personalised & relevant experience.
- Use flip charts / white boards: Work out your key messages from the seminar and keep referencing them on a flip chart. Also when answer questions putting some key annotations on a white board will accelerate learning. The vast majority of people prefer visual learning/comprehension over verbal or kinaesthetic.
- Manage time: You own the flow and interaction. Shut down persistent know it all’s or major diversions. Likewise poll opinions from quiet participants. If you have multiple speakers use an Master of Ceremonies (MC), it may even pay to get a professional facilitator in. Don’t run overtime.
- Put additional reading in hand-out material to pass on to non attendees: Add a few articles / white papers to the hand out material over and above the power point slides. Make it easy for a non attendee to get an idea of what your core messages are, if they are handed the material post event.
- Subtle Selling / stay true to your brand: 95% thought leadership, 5% direct sales. Be clear on what impression you want to leave behind, style, brand positioning etc. The best sales methodology is a subtle thought leadership approach. Do not forget to put your logo and contact details on material and mention what services you offer without over doing it.
- Make a stand: as an expert in your field the participants expect you to have an opinion. The events where I have expressed a strong opinion and opened the floor up to debate, have been the most engaging workshops I have run.
- Continually develop your material: Constantly tweak your material based on audience feedback and new information that comes to hand.
- Entertain & enjoy it: – if you have fun so will the audience. Great business is not boring. If your subject matter expert is a boring speaker: coach him, give him a co presenter, don’t leave him on stage for too long
Give us a call if you would like a hand with coaching your team on creating high impact workshop delivery.
Growth Management Consulting also runs in-house workshops on a range of topics including: Business Planning, Pitching, Investment Ready as well as facilitating board/management team off sites and other business events.