The Top 3 ways of presenting to a live audience
Delivering a live presentation to a group comprised of your target audience – and sharing your insights, perspective or expertise – can be an outstanding way to build awareness for your firm and position yourself as a Subject Matter Expert.
But not all presentation types are created equal. Let’s take a look at the most common ones…
- Presenting at a conference
- Delivering a webinar
- Hosting a paid workshop
Presenting at a Conference
There are likely scores of conferences at which you could present… and in doing so, enhance your reputation, gain exposure and benefit from the credibility of being a speaker at a well-known, established conference.
But which conferences? There are three categories to consider:
- General Market Research events – like the Quirk’s Events, Insights Association’s CRC, TMRE, etc. – that attract a broad mix of research professionals. If you are a “generalist” firm serving a wide variety of clients, consider these kinds of events.
- Vertical-focused events – like the Pharmaceutical Market Research Group (PMRG) or the Financial Services Research Conference.
- Methodology-focused events – like Big Data World, Neuromarketing World Forum or the Customer Experience Summit – if that sort of focus is your bread-n-butter.
To key to selecting the right event is simple, but it isn’t easy: Speak where your clients and prospective clients will be. What you want to guard against is presenting your “secret sauce” to an audience made up of too many of your competitors, so make sure you get an attendance breakdown from the previous year.
Plusses: Presenting live and in-person is best for ‘connecting’ with your audience – for giving them a sense of who you really are; you earn implied credibility from being associated with a respected event; you also have ample opportunities to network while at the event before and after your presentation.
Minuses: The cost of travel & lodging to get to the event; if you are competing with another session in the same time slot, there’s no way to know how many will be in attendance; lastly, there is no way to capture the names of the attendees (i.e. there is no built-in ‘lead gen’ mechanism).
Delivering a Webinar
The key to success with webinars really boils down to one thing… effective promotions to attract the largest audience possible. Yes, you still need a good topic and the use of a webinar platform (like, Webex, GotoMeeting or WebinarNinja), but if attendance is light, it’s a lost opportunity.
There are ostensibly two ways to create and promote a webinar:
- Do it yourself. Create it – post it – promote it – and deliver it all on your own. For promotions, you’ll need to leverage your in-house database, use email marketing, be proactive on social media and maybe even consider the use of some advertising… LinkedIn pay-per-click ads, for example.
- Get some help. For a fee, you can partner with an organization like Greenbook or Quirk’s to help in the production and – most importantly – the promotion of the event. Both of these organizations have massive databases and can drive hundreds of people to register for your webinar.
Plusses: In general, webinars are easy to develop and present, can be recorded for future use and provide a list of sales leads – those who register for the event. DIY webinars have the added benefit of being very low-cost.
Minuses: By the very nature of webinars, you are not in-person (in fact, they may never see you during a webinar); further, you will have a high percentage of no-shows; if you choose to use a partner like Greenbook or Quirks, fees can be very high.
Hosting a Paid Workshop
Depending on the topic – and the depth of that topic – you might want to consider developing a paid workshop… an event where participants, in some sort of hands-on manner, work on or through a particular challenge.
Since you’ll be developing the workshop yourself, the onus is on you to create the presentation and the ‘workbook,’ then promote it and deliver it. Part of the challenge with these is determining a fair and market-friendly price point and putting in place a mechanism for collecting payment.
Workshops can be delivered in-person or online. The topic and the location will help determine which option makes the most sense.
Plusses: Workshops are a revenue generator; like webinars, workshops are also lead generators – you capture the names of those who register; further, those who are willing to invest in a workshop are clearly very interested in the topic and may be high-quality sales leads.
Minuses: In-person workshops will have some additional costs (like renting the facility and producing the workbooks); in-person workshops can be inconvenient for attendees – requiring them to get to and park at the venue; finally, you just never know how many people will show up… like a webinar, promotion is the key.
Think about the last conference, webinar or workshop you attended. One of your biggest assumptions, most likely, going into it was that the presenter “is an expert.” He/she must be… they’re the one presenting, right?
So, take advantage of that assumption. By being the one “in front of the room” (even virtual ones) – YOU are the expert. And people want to hear what you have to say. That’s why, whenever you have the opportunity to present to a live audience (one that’s full of contacts from your target market), you need to strongly consider it.
Like eBooks, blog posts, infographics, etc., presenting to a live audience is another form of Content Marketing. But there’s one key difference… here, they get to hear and [maybe] see you. To connect with you – not just on a professional level – but also on a human level. They “get to know you” a little.
And that can be a great catalyst for a buyer-seller relationship.