6 Ways to Maximize Educational Programming ROI
By Andrea Driessen, Principal, Amplify Professional Speaker Services
In our information-rich world, how do we even begin to discriminate between what is critical to our personal and professional success and what we can ignore - without sacrificing performance?
Here at Amplify, our mission is to ensure everyone we touch - every meeting planning professional, every audience, every speaker - is Amplified - that all are made more capable and wise. We strive to turn up the volume on learning across the board - and even the bored!
Speakers today are brought into an event because, through their knowledge, energy and eye-opening stories they inspire, motivate and inform. The power of their programs moves us closer to greatness Their sheer presence and energy surpass the more impersonal methods of learning such as on-line workshops, reading, and teleconferences. While these modes of education come close, they will never surpass the power of human beings learning from one another, in person. Nothing can ever replace the power of presence.
All too often, however, this palpable, visceral inspiration and knowledge end when the program ends. What, then, can you do to give learning, and speakers' teachings, the chance to better percolate, to permeate your group, your corporate culture your LIFE .so the ideas planted at the speaking platform feed our day-to-day challenges - days, weeks, even years later?
Let's examine, then, six ways to help you cultivate true, long-lasting learning at your events - and well after them - and enjoy a higher return on your educational investment.
When negotiating with speakers, be sure to discuss how to add value to their program with any or all of the following methods. The best speakers live on the cutting edge of technology, and like you want to ensure their messages and teachings have staying power.
I Need my Space!
Give attendees the chance to let newly learned concepts "gel" by scheduling time for them to process on their own. No networking [gasp!]. No rushing to dinner [wow!] Just time to absorb [thank you!]. Because time is becoming the rarest of commodities, you can quite easily add value - and much-needed clear-the-head time - to your conference, vastly increase the extent to which participants learn, and more importantly remember, key concepts.
Post a .PDF ... It's Pretty Darn Fabulous.
With PDFs, speakers can easily distribute advanced modules of their materials to attendees; attendees themselves can post, say on a company's intranet site, materials that illustrate how they are applying what they learned during an educational program.
Posting educational documents as PDFs can be a highly effective way to for associations dependent on building member loyalty and value as well as those who aim to drive more traffic to their website.
Before you know it, your website doubles as a highly effective, super-accessible, wonderfully centralized learning center!
Adobe® makes its Acrobat Reader® available at no charge, so those wishing to view PDF documents pay nothing. Those who create PDFs need to purchase Adobe® Acrobat®, which currently runs $249 for an individual copy. [See www.Adobe.com for details.]
TeleSeminars: Economical, Exponential Results
Particularly practical and affordable for companies and associations spread far and wide, the teleseminar concept is surging in popularity. Great for stand-alone workshops or as supplements to in-person conventions, the process is simple.
The seminar leader establishes a central "party line" phone number into which participants dial at the appointed start time (either a toll-free or long-distance number). All attendees and the speaker(s) can hear, interact with and learn from one another via their telephone. Some of the more advanced teleseminars seamlessly combine verbal conferencing with additional audio as well as video content posted simultaneously on the web.
This multi-sensory combination allows participants to hear, see and interact with information via phone and email (by posting questions and reading answers, for example). With so many minds at work, this Smorgasbord for the Senses exponentially increases learning as it caters to each participant's best personal learning style.
the best teleseminar-focused websites include:
Best of all, teleseminars cost a fraction of an in-person conference. Most teleconferences start at $25 per person for one to two hours of talk time; many are free. If you're planning a conference or training session, you could even ask speakers to cover the tasks and costs associated with establishing the phone lines in exchange for a revenue-share partnership.
Throw a [short] "Learning Application Fest"
Take it even one step further by encouraging attendees to form teams that will be accountable to one another over time as each aims to set and reach learning goals. Suggest team members meet - by phone, email or in person - to discuss progress, challenges and additional ways to integrate new information in their ever-changing worlds.
Increase Skills Exponentially with "Laugh-and-Learn Time"
Allow participants to update one another on their triumphs and challenges as they refer to concepts covered in previous educational programming. Reflection and hearing others' experiences can effectively open up possibilities and build upon previously learned concepts. Suggesting specific questions to ask one another ("Describe one way last month that you used benchmarking in your department.") helps ensure more structured meetings rather than free-for-all, water-cooler gab sessions.
Speaker-led and/or Peer-Based Coaching
Consider integrating a coaching program following a conference to continue the learning after the "motivational glow" begins to dim. Many speakers are also skilled at one-on-one and group coaching, and can themselves provide follow-up coaching to work teams, management groups, and/or individuals to seamlessly provide more advanced levels of material, answer inevitable questions, spur productivity and instill greater motivation.
Or, if your budget won't allow for after-conference coaching, it's easy and highly effective to encourage employees and work teams to coach one another. Dan Kennedy [www.ResultsThatMatter.com], a Seattle-based personal coach specializing in helping professionals, friends and families coach themselves, explains,
"While coaching is now a basic tool for managers in the 21st century, it is also becoming a core competency for everyone else in the organization. As more responsibility continues to be handed off to work teams, employees and their managers are beginning to see the value in employees coaching each other on day-to-day issues." Dan introduces work teams to coaching skills and approaches that can be used immediately, and that are essential for co-workers as they support each other's success.
Bookmark this page now! And return soon for another marketing tip from Amplify!
Do you have another referral-generating technique that works for you? We’d love to hear about it. Contact Amplify, and if we haven’t used the method before, we’ll include it in a future "Marketing, So to Speak" feature….along with your biography and contact information.
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