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Heather Townsend

The Excedia Group


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2 untruths and 2 ways we are letting our delegates down


Have you ever been to a conference where the quality of speakers was so good you didn't realise it was time for a break? Where a speaker stood up in front of 200 people and held them spellbound for 45 minutes? No slides, no visuals, just the power of his presence and story?

Is this just a pipe dream? 

No. I was at the Professional Speaking Association's annual UK convention this weekend, and was lucky enough to listen and learn from a large proportion of the top international speakers. I will be incorporating much of what I heard over the weekend into my skill as a speaker, trainer and facilitator. 

This brings me to the point of this blog post. The first speaker was Michael Jackson, a change/leadership specialist from south africa. Boy, was he good. The theme to his presentation was how fast the speed of change is in business at the moment. However, if I am honest, I am not seeing this speed of change being replicated in the learning materials and tools that we provide to our delegates. 

Now, I am not talking about investment in learning technology.

I'm talking about the fact as trainers and buyers of training services, we owe it to our audiences to provide the most up-to-date content and intellectual property that is out there. 

For example, how many of your training courses still:

* Talk about the words only making up 7% of communication? If so, you are perpetuating the Mehrabian myth and the biggest lie that trainers tell their delegates.

* Focus on SPIN selling or a derivative of SPIN selling? Buyers behaviours have got far more sophisticated in the last few years and there is a movement away from any form of manipulation in selling. You need to earn the right to have the conversation and for your potential clients to tell you what their challenges actually are. 

* Quoting Maslow's hierarchy of needs for motivation. Firstly, even Maslow says that the theory isn't quite right. Then generation Y came along and wanted very different things - things like autonomy, control over their own lives...

* Help your people network by focusing on what happens in the room? So much of networking is not about what happens in the room. It's about how you find, build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships. The finding is so much more effective when you use all the networking tools available to you, rather than just helping your people be able to work the room.

* how many of the speakers do you book who keep your audience spellbound? Isn't it time you stopped cutting corners with your conferences and relied on free speakers?

How are you keeping yourself up-to-date?

More importantly how are you making sure that the trainers you hire and the curriculum you offer your people is also up-to-date and helping them develop to cope with the speed of change in business?

What other myths or out-of-date theories or concepts do you see being perpetuated by trainers?

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Heather Townsend


Read more from Heather Townsend

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