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The Future of Conferences

 22nd June 2017 by gihan

Videoconferencing, online meetings, telepresence and other collaboration technology are gaining traction. Does that mean the in-person conference is obsolete? No – not by a long way! But its role has changed. In this webinar, I’ll show you the trends affecting our professional and personal lives, and how great conference organisers – and speakers – take advantage of them.

This is a MUST WATCH webinar for anybody involved in conferences – including businesses, conference organisers, bureaus, delegates, and speakers.

You can watch the recording here:

After the webinar, I asked participants “What was the most useful thing you learned today?” Here are some of their answers:

“All of it was useful and the most useful thing is: From event to journey”

“Explore different ways of delivering conferences ”

“Pre-conf prep … most conferences don’t do, well not in the health area”

“Future demographics in 2050”

“Will do more research on participation methods/strategies for conferences”

“The power and influence of social and future virtual connectivity and the flow on affect for the future of the traditional conferencing model”

“The options available now and in the not too distant future for better conferences, forums and even meetings.”

“Direction of options for future conferences”

“Expect the unexpected”

“That our world is changing rapidly”

“Participation ideas, BRiN, International Speakers Conference, Connected conferencing ideas”

“Ways to engage delegates into being participants and looking at the VR options for future conference”

“This was one of the most interesting webinars you’ve given – and they are all interesting. Especially as I’ve just returned from attending a ‘real’ conference that included many of the elements you mentioned”

“Identifying platforms like Brin and Virtual Speech”

“Conference attendees are no longer just attending but expect so much more engagement before, during and after the event”

“I’m going to try to buy the book – Disrupt Yourself as it seems to be a follow through from the Webinar”

“The potential of virtual reality- I will order the kit as suggested”

“Prepare for change !!!!”

“The future of conferences, great tips on apps and resources”

“Generational differences eroding traditional conference model. Other alternatives for face-to-face conference speaking”

“Very thought provoking about the future!”

The Future Proof Webinar Series

The Future Proof webinar series will keep you in touch with our future – what’s ahead, what it means for us, and how to stay ahead of the game.

In each webinar, I’ll cover an important topic about the future – for example, the shift of power to Asia, the changing workplace, healthcare technology, the shift to customer-centric business, big data, and more. This is not just theory; I’ll also give you practical examples and ideas for you to future-proof your organisation, teams, and career.

Register here

More ways to engage with me:

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Building Online Video Content and Presence

 19th April 2016 by gihan

Online VideoLast year, I presented a session at the MFAA (Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia) National Convention, talking about how to use online video to create a powerful positioning statement for your business.

Some of the tips for creating online video are simple, but they are very powerful – for example:

  • Make sure your phone is on landscape, not portrait!
  • Have sufficient lighting shining on your face (not behind you)
  • Get the audio as clear as possible (People will forgive poor visuals, but not bad audio)
  • Keep it to two minutes maximum

The MFAA wrote up a short article about my session, and you can find out more valuable tips in that article.

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5 Things Your Conference Audience Cares About Now

 23rd February 2016 by gihan

5 Things Your Conference Audience Cares About Now

We keep hearing stories about the generational shift in the workplace, with more Gen Y’s (Millennials) moving into leadership positions. That’s true in the world of conferences as well. If you’re a conference organiser, sponsor, speaker, or event manager, it’s crucial that you understand this shift and what it means to you.

Based on McCrindle Research about the Australian workforce, a typical conference audience looks something like this:

The Future Of Conferences

In particular, the people who are happy to just sit and listen to presentations now make up less than 30% of the audience.

Of course, smart conference organisers know this, and build programs that balance information with interaction, collaboration, and participation. But if you’re a keynote presenter, you’re expected to mostly just stand on stage and deliver your presentation. What can you do to engage the other 70% of your audience?

I’m glad you asked!

I’m assuming you already know how to engage them during your presentation. Here are five other things you can do around the presentation itself.

1. Update your LinkedIn profile

Yes, you’ve probably got a great Web site, but many of the conference delegates will look you up on LinkedIn first. So make sure your profile is accurate and current.

A great LinkedIn profile has:

  • Good quality photo
  • Descriptive summary
  • Up-to-date history
  • Recommendations for and from other people
  • Links to videos, slide shows, downloads, etc.

2. Write an article for the conference organiser

Offer to contribute an article for the conference organiser, to include in their newsletter, magazine, and other promotional material.

You don’t have to write it from scratch. Find a few existing articles related to the conference theme and your presentation, show them to the conference organiser, and ask them to choose one that you can tweak to make it more relevant.

3. Interview other speakers

Offer to host an online videoconference (using Google Hangouts on Air, Blab, or even just Skype video) and interview other speakers about their presentations.

The delegates get to see you before they turn up to the conference, which breaks the ice for your presentation. And you’re doing the conference organiser a big favour because you profile not just yourself, but some of the other speakers as well.

4. Use the conference Twitter hashtag

If your conference uses Twitter (as many do now), make it a point to actively participate in it. This is especially true if you’re a speaker or presenter, because it makes the conference organiser happy and encourages participation from the attendees.

You can post interesting things to the Twitter feed before the conference and participate actively in the Twitter stream during the conference. If you’re smart, you can even have Tweets magically appearing during your presentation, reinforcing the key points.

5. Give delegates a chance to engage with you later

Encourage delegates to engage with you after the conference, and give them as many ways as possible to do it. Focus especially on the ways that keep them engaged, rather than just one-off hits. For example, here are some of the things I offer:

Which of these ideas can YOU use?

If you’re an experienced conference speaker who hasn’t been doing these things, it’s time to start! It’s tempting to think you still get by with what used to work, but you can’t!

To get started, choose just one of these ideas and build it into your next speaking package. You’ll add value to your client, your audiences, and yourself.

The Future of Conferences

The Future of ConferencesAs a conference keynote speaker (and somebody who has been in the industry for over 20 years), I have seen major changes in the way conferences and events work. Especially in the last few years, because of technology, changing demographics, and global connectivity.

If you’re in the MICE industry – as a speaker, conference organiser, speaking bureau, association, event sponsor, or anybody else who’s involved in events – download my new special report “The Future of Conferences”.

This is the brand-new 2018 edition, based on research and trends in the industry, and tailored especially for the Australian market.

Download Now

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Why Conference Speakers Need To Add More Value – And Five Ways to Do It

 5th May 2015 by gihan

Online educationNow that we have so many more ways to interact and meet – especially online – people have much higher expectations of conferences. Of course, conferences are still important, but they are a huge investment of time and money, so we’re expecting a greater return on that investment.

If you’re a conference speaker, you’ve probably noticed that already. You might still be approached to speak, but you might have noticed that clients now expect more from you than just a one-hour presentation. If you can’t provide additional value, you might struggle to justify your fee, especially when other speakers do provide this value.

The solution is to talk to your client or conference organiser about what you can do to provide additional value. In particular, if you know how to create information products, you can use these in strategic ways to provide low-cost high-value additions to your core presentation.

Here are five examples, which are all based on my own presentations. I’m choosing my own not because I think I’m the best in the world at it, but because I know these examples well, and I can show you how they provided additional value to each client.

Notice how you can add value before, after and even during the presentation.

1. Provide an incentive for people to register

Can you offer a low-cost product or service to your client that they can give away to encourage registrations?

When I delivered a keynote presentation last year for SOCAP Australia, the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals, I worked with the CEO, Amanda Blesing, to look for incentives we could offer to encourage people to register. I had recently recorded an interview with Michael Henderson about corporate culture, so we offered this as a free bonus for SOCAP members who registered by the Early Bird deadline.

socap

2. Interview your client before your presentation

Another way to encourage registrations is to build up interest by sharing interviews with key people. Terry Brock is a master of this, and does a brilliant job of interviewing other speakers and promoting these interviews via his network and theirs.

I’m doing the same for a coming real estate conference this October, where I’ll be delivering a keynote presentation. The organisation is going through a lot of change, and one of the conference goals is to explain the changes. So I’ll be interviewing the CEO of the company about the changes to the organisation and the industry, and he will send out the interview to his database to encourage more registrations.

3. Tweet during your presentation

What can you do during your presentation to add value? Speakers used to provide handouts, worksheets, or other physical material in conference packs, but fewer conferences are providing delegate packs now, and there’s a greater shift to digital information.

When I spoke at the APHA (Australian Private Hospitals Association) conference in Melbourne in March, my keynote presentation talked about the changes to the healthcare landscape in Australia. I knew some delegates would want more details than I could present in an hour, but I didn’t want to clutter up the presentation with all the details of my research. So I used Twitter to send out links to the research material during my presentation. These appeared to delegates using Twitter, the conference app, and a “Tweet Wall” in the reception area (click picture for a larger version):

Of course, I wasn’t stopping every few minutes to send Tweets; I had it automated using Hootsuite.

4. Provide resources after your presentation

What can you add after your presentations to help your audience further?

I’m presenting a session about online video at the MFAA (Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia) in Melbourne this week. I’ll show the delegates how to create a powerful online video for their Web site, but I know there’s so much more to know about online video than we can cover in an hour. So I also provide attendees with access to a password-protected page on my Web site, with online video tips and a one-year course of additional resources on this topic.

mfaa

5. Offer a follow-up presentation

They might choose somebody else next year, but what other services can you offer them?

Most organisations choose different keynote speakers each year for their annual convention. So, when I delivered a keynote for a real estate organisation’s national conference in 2013, I knew they would be looking for somebody else next time. But because I also conduct webinars, I also offered them a four-part webinar series to teach the concepts from my keynote in more detail. This would have been difficult to do in a series of workshops (because of the logistics of bringing people together), but was easy as a webinar series. As an added benefit, the client also keeps the recordings as a permanent resource on their e-learning platform.

What can YOU do?

Perhaps one or more of these ideas will be perfect for you. If that’s the case, great! You have my permission to copy the idea and use it yourself.

If none of them work for you, I hope they still spark an idea for something else you can do.

Either way, remember that it’s about providing real value. The more real, practical value you can provide, the more attractive you are to the client, and the greater the impact you will have on your audience.

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The Changing Face of HR: CCI Conference in Perth

 26th June 2014 by gihan

The WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) recently hosted their first HR conference, with the theme “The Changing Face of HR”. I was one of the keynote speakers, speaking about how the world of work and jobs have changed due to the Internet.

Here are some pictures from my presentation, taken by the talented Dan Avila of danavilaphotography.com.

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