When was the last time you saw a presentation at a live event and it changed your behaviour? When was the last time you attended an event which gave you true inspiration, ideas and motivation?
I hope you are responding that it was recently and the actions you have taken as a result are transforming the way you do business... but maybe not. The truth is that relevant, exhilarating and exciting content can be rarer than hen’s teeth, but here’s some tips which can (hopefully) help you change that.
The truth is that often conference content comes a poor second to getting all the other details of a live event sorted out. A wonderful venue is great, but really your venue should be chosen to fit your content and not the other way around. How do you develop an agenda and decide what to talk about? It should 100% come from your business strategy, mission, values and objectives. It should scream the messages you want to talk about and be an integrated part of your communications and marketing. If you look outside these sources for your ideas then you will lack an authentic voice for your attendees and they may end up thinking you have nothing useful to say at all. If you look inside your business and decide there is nothing to say, that is a whole other issue! (but we can help you with that too...)
Many people think the keynote speaker is their key to unlocking record numbers of attendees at their event. This isn’t true – content is. If you have set the agenda then find a speaker who encompasses the themes of your event, not the topics. If you are a world-leader in your industry, you don’t need an expert in that – you are the expert! But someone who can inspire creativity or talks about productivity, or simplification... these are where you find synergy with your themes but from a new and interesting source.
Anyone who is familiar with events will also be familiar with the phrase ‘death by power point.’ Presentations don’t have to be boring, even if the content is rather... dry. Use professional designers to create presentations, use video, live theatre, and interactive technology. Or even drop the slides altogether – one of the most effective presentations I have seen was a CEO, under a spot light, no slides, talking about the company’s future. It is difficult to push people out of their comfort zone but it is worth it – consider investing in coaching for the people in your company who present the most. And consider if a conference format is really the right form for communicating your messages in the first place?
Hopefully you’ve found my content interesting! If you have, in my next blog post I’ll be talking about interaction, follow-up and feedback. Maybe you can reach the dizzy heights of having such valuable content people pay to attend your events?