Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Determining The Value of Seminars & Presentations

When it comes to presentations and seminars in your market or industry, some are free and some cost the same as a great used car.  Some last all week and others can be given as a one hour lunch and learn. The worst are those that have great marketing to get you there, but offer absolutely nothing of value once you sit down. With so many options, how does anyone determine the value of seminars & presentations?

I've heard this question asked multiple times from individuals, businesses, & organizations, big and small, and there doesn't appear to be one answer.  There are so many types of seminars & presentations and these are further distorted by market and industry.  Through my career presentation experiences (giving and receiving), I have found there are two common denominators in determining the value of presentations & seminars - an enlightening presenter & a willing audience.

An Enlightening Presenter

I have heard many people say that a charismatic speaker can carry an audience no matter what the topic, atmosphere, or setting.  There are many things that make a speaker great, including charisma.  But when it comes to seminars & presentations, I want to be enlightened not charmed.

An enlightening presenter demonstrates as much, if not more, innovative thought as knowledge.  Don't spin and dance around what I already know or can read by myself.  Inspire me.  Most importantly, by the time the seminar or presentation is finished I should want to inspire others.

A Willing Audience

The value of an education is dependent on the work we put into it. I think a lot of adults forget this and look at education as a means to an end.  This is a huge mistake when it concerns the value of a presentation or seminar. The audience has just as much responsibility to enlighten themselves before and after they participate, if not just on a surface level.

Let's take marketing, for example.  If you plan on attending a Marketing seminar that is going to focus on how to integrate Google+ as a social media marketing tool for your business, show up having already registered for and experimented with the platform.  If you don't, this will only cause frustration for you.

Information and knowledge are not synonymous. A great seminar or presentation is lost on an audience unwilling to educate themselves before the event and then use that knowledge to further their education after.
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Learning always comes with a price if not just in the form of your time.  The value of a presentation or seminar depends just as much on your eagerness to be inspired as it for the presenter to be inspiring.  If this type of inspiration is present, then the cost becomes inconsequential - well, almost.

What are some examples of seminars or presentations that have inspired you?