Around the globe, executives arrive at meetings and conferences armed with glossy slide decks, laundry lists of talking points and FAQs. And all of it will likely go ignored.
Like you, all executives are confident their presentation has been reworked and honed. But is yours a distinctive and memorable story regardless of whether it’s a big or small event? What about your team and colleagues? Are you sure? No weak links? You likely have your doubts and at least one of these questions can be answered with a NO.
As everyone juggles their day-to-day job while scrambling to prep for the next event, a big opportunity is more than likely being missed. There are broader opportunities each conference offers, beyond being on stage and necessary networking.
Conferences are an ideal setting to deliver a clear and consistent message about your firm and business. This isn’t limited to the exec serving as panelist or delivering a speech. In many cases, colleagues attending the same conference, tell dramatically different stories about your company’s value proposition, and ultimately, they are not delivering the right key messages to clients and prospects. This is more than worrisome; it’s a waste of time and money and could damage relationships or connections your firm has worked hard to nurture.
At these moments, when everyone is busy writing talking points, making sure their schedules are filled, ensuring everything that needs to be presented is already sent, handouts have gone through compliance, one may pause. Has anyone taken the time to prepare properly and ensure that everyone is on the same page? Is everyone aligned and prepared to deliver consistent messages? Sending or handing out papers and PowerPoints is not the solution. Who is monitoring your team’s quality control? Here are three tested ways to ensure that each brand ambassador is given the tools to enhance your firm’s brand and purpose:
1. Ensure consistent messages are in place. In many cases, lots of people, some of whom you’ve never met, are working to make sure that everything and everyone is ready for this event. Whether it’s your own or a trade conference, each business unit, product specialist, sales person is working on their own interpretation of what they need to do and say. Yet, the biggest piece is missing – common threads that run through the firm, each business and purpose of every product or service.
Looking at the whole picture is an absolute necessity. There are endless messages, talking points and supporting facts in front of everyone. Has anyone looked at all of it together? There are usually dots that need to be connected. There are opportunities missed because the whole puzzle isn’t being looked at and pieces are missing or are not being put together in a cohesive way.
2. Be brief and make an impact. Since your firm is sending you and your colleagues to an event to represent the brand, you are relatively confident you know what you are talking about. In fact, you can talk about every detail of every part of the company, the industry and the history of your life that brought you here today, until you can speak no more. Please don’t do this. After the third, maybe the fourth sentence, whomever you are talking athas stopped listening. Think about how many people your audience will listen to that day and possibly the next. Your brief, to the point conversation should stand out and can be retold.
3. Everyone is there for a reason. One of those reasons is not to socialize with colleagues. Some of the people within your group might be new to the organization, have never been to a conference or simply do not know what to do while they are there. Whether it’s manning a booth, networking or sitting for the long lunch at a table of 10, everyone should still be on. They should know what to talk about in these situations to both represent the firm as well as making the most of everyone’s time.
This additional preparation does take time and commitment. Yet, the results during the conference and after are very different. The outcome is that you, your audience and new contacts will feel and see that every minute and dime were well spent overall.