12 Tips for effective customer workshops

Seminars / workshops are a great tool to show thought leadership, promote yourPostit note workshop BD LRx 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Continually develop your material: Constantly tweak your material based on audience feedback and new information that comes to hand.
  12. 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

mark cutawayLR

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.

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Kick Starting New Ventures

Many people are stuck in a deadly procrastination loop over whether to start a new business venture or not. Bending any ones ear that will listen, but never actioning it or getting into enough detail to hit the go button. Business is not a spectator sport.

My advice to people is that this activity is wasting your live away. My motto is – new ventures should “grow fast or fail fast”.

5 Steps to Kick Starting your new venture:

1: Find out what you don’t know – you don’t know
2: Create a brief business plan and get it challenged
3: Identify what’s in the way of getting started
4: Validate your market
5: Revise you plan and get it challenged again.

GMC in conjunction with Grow Wellington run the Activate – Jump Start boot camp. Taking  new ventures through steps 1-3 in 48 hours, helping all of them make significant progress in moving their businesses ahead.
Then following the weekend up with a support programme, including a post weekend strategic review and follow up mentoring.

Learning’s from the weekend included:

–   Peer review of your business model and plan is the quickest way to transform your thinking
–   Being away from home and the internet for a 2 days and nights can aid your thinking process and help you get clarity
–   The simple act of presenting your business model and plan to someone – will help you get clarity.

If you are sitting on the next big thing, or are stalled making the next big change to your business than would recommend signing up to one of the remaining jump start weekends for 2011  Wellington-Palmerston North 18- 23 Nov or Auckland 25 – 27 Nov.

If you have a GST registered business you may qualify for up to a 50% discount for events like this, contact me for more information.

Typical feedback from the weekend and follow up sessions:

“Relevant and to the point… with immediate and significant impact on my business.  It has paid for itself in the smart decisions I have made since.

The Activate weekend is different to all other business workshops I have been to, no hypothetical cases leaving you to interpret and apply to your business.

It was amazing what we all learnt from analysing each other’s business; I left having made some fundamental shifts in my business strategy.

The post weekend mentoring has been invaluable in accelerating the journey of my business.  

John Matsis – Founder Tonic Foodgroup Ltd

“Exhausting and inspirational in the same moment… this is gold.”

“Mark and Activate have transformed my business from a cool product, into a focused business with a clear strategy to market. ”

The ability to get clarity out of the chaos for my new venture is invaluable, the investment to participate paid for itself 10 times over in saved time.  

Rachel Hatch – Founder Mexis – Virtual Reality Devices

“Brutal and inspiring… don’t start a new venture without attending Activate.
It begins with a startup bootcamp weekend that exposes and plugs any gaps in your business model
“.

“Mark has a great way of saying what needs to be said – even it’s not what we want to hear – and making us feel good about it.”

“We are operating at warp speed as a result of attending Activate The follow up support has been key in keeping me on track and focused on getting the important high value stuff done. I recommend any business owner, new or nearly new, attend this practical programme.”

Judith Eastgate – Founder, Perfect Accent

New Affordable Business Owners Development Programme

Getting your business flying is hard work. 

Are you working on the right stuff ?

Whether you are starting a new business or you are eager to accelerate success in your current business this is the programme for you.

Activate – Jump Start begins with an intensive “live in” weekend, 10 back to back business workshops. Topics covered include: Pitching, capital raising, business planning, creating high performance teams, governance for SME’s, maximising value from advisors. Our aim is to help you avoid common mistakes, save money and accelerate the growth of your business. You will leave the weekend with a draft business plan for your business.

One month later you will have a dedicated facilitated strategy session for your business, 3 follow up mentoring sessions plus much more all included in the price for the weekend.

Aimed at the start-up and SME market with less than $5M revenue this high impact programme is pegged at an affordable price point.

Typical GMC client feedback we get is…

“It’s a harsh reality check that’s brutal, but uplifting and utterly necessary. Mark runs you through it with passion and insight. Highly recommended.”
Ollie Langridge – Netfilms Ltd

“This will make me get out of my comfort zone and put my “dream” into action” CEO Traverse Developments

The pragmatic delivery style of Mark has gained rave reviews and we can promise you the only case study we will work on is your business.

The activate programme is an extension of the original Activate launched by Grow Wellington for the Wellington Regions start-up community. GMC have partnered with Grow Wellington to refresh the Activate programme and combine it with GMC’s pragmatic and fast paced learning style. With Grow Wellingtons assistance we are launching this new revised programme for Wellington on September 2-4 at Tatum Park.

For Auckland businesses we have scheduled the 2011 session for November 25. At this stage it is envisaged that this programme will have 3 intakes per year, limited to a maximum of 15 companies to maximise learning.

Growth Management Consulting (GMC) and the Jump Start Weekend are registered with NZTE as an approved workshop that business capability vouchers can be redeemed for. This can provide up to a 50% discount on course fees.

For more information available at http://www.growthmanagement.co.nz/activate.html including full programme and registration.

Register now and get a free copy of Rob Adams “if you build it they will come” (read book review here)

Or  call Mark Robotham direct on 021 61 8850

Business is not rocket science – but you need rocket fuel and a match.

Business owners are missing out on techniques and practices that could radically improve their business efficiency-performance and lower stress.  Welcome to rocket fuel (knowledge) and the match (motivation)

“Smart business management is not hard to learn – but for most business owners they suffer from a lack of awareness of what tools and techniques are available, or are confused with an over supply of information and options.

As a result of this too many business owners are simply making hard work of business and sabotaging their own success. Time is the most precious resource for business owners – and undertaking traditional business management study simply does not produce results quick enough.

So, wouldn’t it be great if you had an MBA? But hey, you don’t have the inclination or time to get one. And anyway you’re busy growing a business -right.

Too many business owners just need access to motivational business education, that’s available in bite size pieces, and their business will begin to reap the rewards. Welcome to the alternative way to gaining business knowledge. The world of high impact training targeted for business owners who need instant results.

You need to approach knowledge acquisition (training) as an investment, with different investment terms and pay back periods.  So how quick do you want a return?

So what’s the point of business training? It is sure as eggs, not a fancy certificate on a wall.  For the pragmatists out there they want to quickly gain some new knowledge that will very quickly generate a positive outcome for their business. These results can range from personal gains, such as confidence or inspiration, through to financial – more dollars in the bank account.

For business owners The best learning experiences for business owners come from practitioner’s who have been there and done it and just as importantly have the skill to coach and inspire.

So if are you ready for The “Gift of efficiency and inspiration” and  a refreshing approach to training, what’s stopping you investing in improving your business?


Watch this space – in 2011 GMC is launching some new business training offerings to link in with the new NZTE Regional Partners – capability  funding programme.

Yes GMC will be a NZTE certified trainer.