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Business to Business Online Expos


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Sorry, Your Seminar Put Me To Sleep

presentationIs it a requirement for all seminars to be boring? Seriously, I don’t want to be cruel and trample on anyone’s efforts but I don’t think I’ve ever attended a seminar that kept me alert and involved–let alone entertained. In a not-so-scientific estimation, I’m going to predict that the majority of seminar attendees are with me on this.

Why do we have seminars?  According to the folks over at Brunel University in London, England, seminars create opportunities to:

  • explore topics in more depth
  • share ideas in a way that will advance your thinking
  • learn from other people’s experiences and background knowledge
  • gain points of view that you might not have otherwise considered

However, as beneficial as all of those points sound, author, R.B. Holbrook, says, “people only retain only 5% of what they are taught at a lecture.”

Five percent.  Your name, the name of your product and the name of your company is probably close to 1% of that.  So the true stat would come out to about 4%.  Four percent retained in your lecture.

“But I don’t do a lecture, I conduct a seminar,” you may have thought after reading that.

Okay, then if it’s a seminar…why does it feel like a lecture?

Let me answer it for you…

BECAUSE EVERYONE IS BORED OUT OF THEIR MINDS!

Just because you, as the host, attended seminars in the past where some old guy spent two hours crawling through a slide show, don’t think that this a model you should follow.  Trust me, if you hated it when you experienced it, the rest of us ain’t gonna like it either–no matter how great your company is. And the free bagels and coffee isn’t gonna make up for the colossal waste of time we all will experience.

I’m sincerely not trying to be rude but it is a waste of time.  If you’re going to spend all the money to prep for an event like this by booking a hall, catering the food, paying a staff and renting equipment, wouldn’t you want the audience to leave with an incredible understanding of the content?

Of course you do. So, how do you achieve that?

Switch it up. Get away from normal or mundane and put on an exciting, interactive education “show”. Yes, I said a show. Something that requires prep and rehearsal. Put on a presentation that may require multiple people to pull off. If you can’t handle it, hire a team that can. At the end of the day, your goal for your audience is to retain the information. Take it one step further, if the audience works for your company, you absolutely need for them to retain as much as possible so that they can move your product more efficiently with higher production.

Christina Hamlett of eHow.com said, “If you’re not even halfway into the seminar and your listeners are already yawning, looking at their watches or working crossword puzzles, it’s a good indicator that you’re not keeping them totally engaged.”

Christina then continues in her piece and gives great tips and suggestions on how to get your audience engaged.  It’s a great article and you can read it HERE.

Just take yourself back to grade school.  Do you remember that history teacher with the monotone voice who said, “In 1734, the southern colonies were integrated into a large division of……zzzzzzzzzzzzz”?  You don’t remember the rest right?  Why?

BECAUSE YOU FELL ASLEEP!

You hated that class and you struggled to pass it because you found it very difficult to learn from that teacher.

Then why do that to your clients, peers, expo attendees or colleagues?

Change things up and make it fun.  It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is, people stay awake and retain information when they are having fun.  And then they become advocates for whatever it is you’re teaching.

Enjoy yourself and they will enjoy themselves.


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The Not-So ‘Foo Foo’ Advice for a Successful Expo

mic_speakOver time, I’ve given you some great tips on this blog and on our iTunes podcast, about how to have a successful show as an Exhibitor. Based on my own experience and the expertise of many others I interviewed, I have given you some sure fire points that will help your company succeed on the convention floor.

Don’t ignore my previous advice.  Absorb it and apply it.

However, while those kind of fun and fluffy ideas will all lead to positive results for your business, I want to tighten the bolts a little and point you towards some heavier approaches.  I want to introduce you to a way to turn it up a little and add some practices that most companies don’t have the knock-a-cheekies to attempt.

         [Definition: Knock-a-cheekies (noun)- a made up word that I can say in front of my                    kids because only I know that it refers to a part of the male anatomy synonymous with                courage and boldness]

InsideSales.com self-proclaimed ‘inside sales evangelist’. Ken Kroque, writes a blog for Forbes.com. In one of his recent posts, Kroque wrote, “Never go to a show that you can’t speak at. Enough said. And sitting on a panel with 4 other people isn’t the same as speaking, but it’s better than nothing. If you can’t speak, make your own event that you can speak at and invite everyone in your database to come hear you speak at the show. Oh, and speak well.”

That is awesome advice.  Most expos are teased and advertised almost a year in advance.  Organizers don’t have a solid ‘line-up’ of speakers, seminars and education training–sometimes up to one month before the doors open.  And even if shows have scheduled a good range of speakers and events, they are very aware that as showtime gets closer, cancellations are a reality.  They will want to overbook or have a back up list.

So…find the niche’ that you can teach and present it.  But as Kroque advises in his piece, your presentation can’t be all about you and your company.

Ken continued, “When you speak, don’t pitch your stuff. Grow your industry. If your content and research is really good, people will flock to you. If you sell your stuff on stage, they flock away from you. If you help them provide answers to difficult questions, they turn to you to help them in their business. But people hate sitting through a sales pitch masquerading as a seminar… don’t do it. It hurts you. Have faith in your content and value.”

Be a resource first.  They will remember you for it.  Give them a way to reach out to you following your event and then sell them outside of your training session.  Read the rest of Ken Kroque’s piece here.

Good stuff!

Have a great show!