Events and conferences are a staple part of most organisations' diets. This 'hero' content helps a firm get their name out, get seen and heard by all of the right people over a short period of time, all with the intention of leaving a lasting impression. It can be an opportunity to get some new customers or even to attract the next lot of job hunters to your up and coming firm. As such, a firm should be putting its best foot forward.
Having been to multiple events and conferences over the past few weeks, there have been a number of things that struck me:
- At the most basic level, events, seminars, conferences etc. represent an opportunity to learn and develop a basic face-to-face relationship with someone. Organisations should be thinking then, "how can I get a good old fashioned conversation going?" Easy. Coffee! Some of the savviest firms I saw just had someone at their stand making a strong coffee (free of charge, of course) and another representative who casually chatted to you and asked you a few questions. Simple, cost effective and a thoughtful touch.
- For seminars and workshops, keep it short and sweet. If it cannot be said in 30 minutes, you are going to lose the audience's attention.
- Be as interactive as possible. You are talking to smart and talented people. Get them involved. Start a discussion. This can only enhance the complete learning experience.
The big don'ts
- Whatever you do, do not do a hard sell. There is nothing worse than being hounded by some desperate salesperson looking for their next big pay day. Have a conversation, take a card and drop them a call a week later.
- If you are lucky enough to have been asked to speak, it is an opportunity to showcase your knowledge and wisdom on a certain topic, not to just brag about how great your product is and how many big clients you have. That information is readily available on your websites, in your brochures or even on Facebook. By showcasing what you know, people will naturally be interested in what you do.
- And last, but most certainly not least... This is 2016. Dressing women up in 'sexy' outfits to hand out leaflets demeans the individual organisation, the conference as a whole and does nothing to promote gender equality NOR to encourage women to come to these events or even be a part of the industry! The culprits shall remain anonymous...
We only remember the good and the bad, not the bits in between. As such, focus on what you are good at, avoid the bad bits as much as possible and, of course, enjoy it! We all like a bit of time out of the office!
The value of their talk should come from its content and delivery, not from their backgrounds! Don’t let speakers sell their companies’ products or services on stage.