Tony Compton, Managing Partner
You’re investing good money to get your presenters, with your messages, in front of your target audience. Whether you’re sponsoring a webinar, an industry conference, or a Vegas trade show, expenditures will be totaled, and results measured. Even if you have a subject matter expert driving crosstown to give a speech, an investment is made. But remember, event producers won’t guarantee one thing: results. It’s up to you – not the producers – to make the most out of every speaking engagement, at every event.
Your Path to Preparation
How are you preparing for that next event? Specifically, the next company presentation. What are your most important preparation activities? Logo ready? Sure, it is! You may even have a dusty file somewhere that’s 10 pages long which gives the reader the do’s and don’ts of how to use it. Slides? Of course! How could anybody possibly give a presentation without slides?
There’s no doubt your preparation checklist has it all, even a certain amount of pride. The next event is set, your company session is on, travel is booked, and the conference producers have your payment, up front of course. You’re confident (or naive enough to think) that your company presenters are ready to step into the arena, at every chance they get, and kill it for you and your company. Since you’ve done everything you could do to ensure the success of your presenters, how could they not be the rock stars you think they are, and they tell you they are?
Avoid the Blame Game
When presentations fail to deliver, and the predicted returns from an event don’t materialize, who’s on the Hot Seat? After a failed presentation and an immediate executive demand for answers, some marketers feel like liberal activists sitting across an interview table from Wally George. Shall we include blaming sales? Possibly. But wait a minute, maybe it’s product management. Why? They were responsible for giving a number of talks at the last customer event, and they’ve also delivered a lot of recent webinars. So maybe it’s their fault. How about all of the above?
Some take a different path and choose to look externally. After a less than stellar company and speaker performance at the Trade Show in Destination City, USA anger may be vent at event producers, with disdain directed toward some attendees. But don’t blame the attendees, and don’t jump to conclusions about the event producers. Producers are rarely to blame, and it’s never the fault of the audience. True, some mistakes are made by organizers, but if you consistently choose your events wisely, you have the right audience. Your target audience is right in front of you. My advice is to focus on your presenters, and your approach to strengthening their presentation techniques. This will go a long way to avoiding those unproductive, post-mortem blame games which permeate meeting rooms.
Your Assignment, and Call to Action
Coming soon is your next batch of 2015 industry events. Some are on your personal calendar, and the event listing on your website undoubtedly reflects what’s in store. To increase the value of your sales, marketing and event expenditures, consider the following:
1. Before the next set of company presentations: take a moment to baseline how your company prepares speakers for appearances, and the consistency in readiness tactics, and structured practice. Ask presenters how they’re getting ready for upcoming presentations. When they finish telling you about “when, where and how” to catch a performance, and all about the slides they’re preparing, repeat the question and get some real answers.
2. Attend an upcoming company presentation, and during it: examine the audience, and count how many laptops, smartphones and tablets are in use while your speaker is speaking. See whose attention is elsewhere. If it’s a webinar, it’s safe to imagine that a large portion of the audience is multitasking. Rate your presenter’s ability to break through clutter, and deliver critical messages. Watch and listen to how your presenter handles the audience, acquires and holds its attention, delivers a clear and concise point of view, and motivates the audience to follow-up on any calls to action.
3. After the presentation: do some “back of the envelope” math. Request speaker evaluation scores. Total your expenditures. Look at the qualified leads, any new business opportunities, and see how much the entire process is worth. It’s easy to do. This isn’t a financial audit. Just scratch out the information on a cocktail napkin while killing time at the airport. It’ll be an eye opener.
Taking this step-by-step approach will help you get a clearer picture of how your company approaches events, presentations and speaker performance. This will provide you with insight into what many choose to undervalue: the practice of preparing people to expertly stand and deliver in front of target audiences.
You want to report positive results from hefty event-related expenditures, so help yourself by helping your people prepare for their next appearance. Start now, because there are very real consequences of doing something positive and substantial to support your colleagues versus doing little or nothing at all. When the time has passed on the upcoming season of industry events, and you’re standing in front of your company’s executives, investors and Board of Directors with results in hand, what will you have to say?
Follow GettingPresence on Twitter: @gettingpresence, and stay tuned to this blog for insights and solutions from experts who have faced, and met, the same event-related challenges you face everyday. We’ve prepared speakers, and helped executives, salespeople and marketing leaders make the most out of business conferences, industry trade shows, customer meetings, and sponsored webinars.
Visit: www.gettingpresence.com, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org