Transforming Presentations to Discussions
Running the Events
1/ Focus on discussion and moderating skills rather than presentation skills. You are the organization bringing people together – enable the conversation don’t dominate it. Also take duct tape for your sales people. I can spot a sales guy from a mile and I don’t want to hear from him/her unless it pertains to the topic and is interesting. Pitching can be done one to one.
2/ For senior level events, do them in the evening, restrict the numbers and make sure that you have a couple of empty chairs – you’ll see why at the end.
3/ Get an interesting speaker – as an exec there are 2 or 3 types of speaker most execs really like to hear from:
– a peer of mine from a different industry or geography that may have dealt with or be dealing with issues similar to mine
– an academic with an interesting perspective
– a consultant who can show me something of interest (not just a pitch)
4/ Feed them properly – and get them to choose their main dish/entree in advance – its amazing how this works.
5/ Get them back in the room and start a discussion. Prepare a discussion guide in advance. Your job is to keep the discussion going and lively, and bring in those people who are not talking.
6/ At the end, thank everyone, summarize and then ask the participant if there is anyone else they know that would benefit from joining this discussion group….and ask how regularly the participants would like to do this.