Classic handout tip
At NSA in 1981 Joel Weldon taught: At the beginning of a program, everyone is asked to raise their hands and pledge, “I hereby promise” (they repeat) “not to peek ahead” (they repeat) “in my handout” (they repeat… and usually laugh). I add to this, “If you already peeked, don’t feel guilty (small laugh). You had not pledged yet (small laugh). I just want to know when I’m on page 5, you are on 5, when I’m on 25, you are on 25 (small laugh). Besides, there are no secrets there. We will cover it all, I assure you.” Then tell them if they finish an assignment early or come back from lunch or a break and have no one to talk to, they DO have permission to jump to the back section and read some of the articles you have written on the subject. You will get about 95% compliance.
Adding value and following through with your participants?
We often hear that providing follow-up and follow-through, especially with seminars or break-out sessions, ensures additional learning takes place. There/ are creative ways to add value during the seminar as well. Your clients will appreciate knowing that their attendees are getting additional value from your program. Many of us research our client’s needs by interviewing people who will be attending the conference, and/or arriving the night before our program to get acquainted with them. You may want to:
Do a lot of “crowd sourcing,” and ask them what they want from the conference. The best advisors are the participants themselves. If suggestions are out of scope, consider:
- Expanding your thinking to include some of their new ideas, if applicable, even partially, and giving credit for them (the participants give great suggestions, but some may be far-reaching);
- Involving the participants and use the “new” ideas as a topic for small-group discussion during the seminar;
- Writing an article or white paper, to expand the additional ideas and show how they fit in with your topic area. Put the article on your website and send the link for them to read it.
- When their suggestions do not fit in with your topic, offering a webinar to encourage additional learning is a way to provide a follow-up program that may include the new content.
If you make an additional connection with the participants, it encourages them to think about the content in another way. You ensure follow-through when you contact attendees after the seminar to see if their expectations were met, and then reinforce the key learning points.
Good Business Practices
Let your clients give you away