Frequently Asked Questions
What do you think are the most important aspects of a conference or seminar for staff?
What should we avoid in our conference?
Are there any ways of reducing costs while keeping the quality high?
We are thinking of running customer seminars as a way of attracting new business. Any tips?
In your experience what are the main reasons customer seminars can fail?
I hate speaking in public but have to speak at our annual conference – have you any tips for me?
I am presenting at our annual conference. We are allowing staff to dress in a smart casual style. What should I wear?
A: Firstly you need to establish what you want to achieve from the event. Is it a reward? Is it imparting information? Is it team building? Is it educational? Is it a combination of some or all of these? Once you have decided what the event is for you can look at how best to get the message or messages across. CLIFFORD Solutions are pleased to help with this aspect and can advise on content, presenters, format and any theme to the event.
A: Long presentations can lead delegates to lose concentration. Make sure presenters are adequately rehearsed and that all presentations are checked for inconsistency, duplication or even worse, contradiction. Try to mix up sessions involving changes of media (presentations, DVDs, music etc) and where possible get some audience participation. Facilitated ‘breakout’ sessions can help to get people involved and keep their interest high. Make sure you have enough breaks.
A: CLIFFORD Solutions are experts in showing you how to gain sponsorships and reduce costs. This can also add a new exciting dimension to your conference.
A: If you are running seminars as a business generation exercise there are a number of things to think about.
- Getting the right customers to come – it is easy to ask existing clients but are they who you want to see?
- Make the event look and sound professional. An LCD projector wedged on beer mats on a wobbly table will not look good. People who cannot hear properly at the back of the room will not be impressed. You need to portray a professional image.
- Make sure your presenters are good. The technical expert on the subject may not be the best presenter. You can have your technical expert there to deal with questions but the quality of the presenter is paramount.
- Try lunch or breakfast meetings. Staying behind for a bite to eat allows time for informal follow up.
- Get enough staff along to engage customers. Try for as high a ratio of staff to customers as you can achieve, otherwise potential business will walk away.
- If you have handouts make sure they are relevant and have full contact details. A copy of the slides alone does not make a good handout.
- Don’t be frightened of asking for follow up appointments at the event.
- Think of ‘what is in it’ for your customer and make sure your event provides it
- Give good information but leave your audience wanting more!
- Poor quality set up
- Poor venue
- Poor presenters and / or presentations
- Not enough ‘hosts’ present
- Not enough people attending
A: Not an uncommon question!
There are some simple rules that will make it a bit easier for you.
- Practice – the confidence you gain in really knowing what you are going to say helps with nerves. The last thing you need is to be more nervous than necessary because you haven’t learned what you are saying.
- Use prompt cards. These are postcard sized cards that you can write key words on to prompt you at different points of the presentation. It only takes a second to glance down at any point.
- Choose a couple of points or people in the room, preferably near the back where you can focus attention while speaking. That will help you look more confident.
- Try not to hide behind a lectern – you will feel much better if you can move around.
- Don’t forget the audience want to hear what you are saying. Make your presentation to the point and don’t forget, length is no guide to quality. If you can say what you want in 10 minutes don’t pad it out for the sake of it!
- Take care with your slides – many corporate slides are nothing more than a ‘script on a slide’. Slides should compliment what you are saying, not be what you are saying.
A: What are you trying to convey? If you want to convey a team approach it might look wrong to appear very formal and may appear ‘them and us’, so smart casual for you is probably right. However if you have a very serious message to convey such as job cuts or redundancies then a more formal look might be in order.