When people ask me if running workshops and seminars is a good idea for their business, I usually say “It depends.”
They are proven to strengthen relationships with existing clients and showcase your expertise to new ones. Seminars and workshops can also create a comfortable environment where existing happy customers can help you to “sell” your services to potential new customers naturally and unobtrusively.
But they need to be done well
If you are running a workshop you have to do it properly!
Recently I was privileged to attend such an event run by one of my clients. They were a well established accountancy firm with ambitious growth plans. I got the invitation because I had helped one of the partners put together a presentation including developing powerful visual aids instead of boring bullet points.
The purpose of the event was to bring together clients and prospects to showcase some of the new services they were offering.
What made this event a success?
- They started with a clear outcome for the event
- They had a realistic timescale that allowed for enough planning and promotion to make sure that there was a good attendance – running workshops can be expensive so you want to make sure you get enough people in the room to make it worthwhile
- They created a programme that was relevant to their target audience – owners of medium-sized businesses with a wish to grow organically
- They choose an appropriate, high quality venue to meet the aspirations of their target clients
- They invested in professional advice on how to present the content in the most effective and memorable way, and they implemented the recommendations they received
- The speakers rehearsed their presentations in advance. They sought external feedback and then optimized their presentations appropriately to ensured that everything ran smoothly on the night
- Their presentations were clear and concise and used examples and case studies which their audience could identify with
- They ran a short panel discussion with three clients who gave concrete examples of the approaches discussed in the presentations
- They invited a mix of existing customers and prospective ones
- They had enough staff present to make sure that registration went smoothly and that there were people on hand to answer questions afterwards in the drinks reception
If you are looking to refresh existing customer relationships and build new ones, running workshops and seminars is worth exploring, but you need to invest a little time and effort as well as money to create an effective event.
If you are not ready then my advice would be to steer clear of these type of events as the risk of creating a poor impression is significant.
Seeking professional advice to make sure that the content is relevant, interesting and well presented can make all the difference.
If you have any questions or ideas about running workshops, please post your comments below.
The Presentation and communication doctor.