In recent years, I have had the honour to speak at and moderate many conferences and seminars, both on a national and international level. These seminars often focus on matters dependable on onlinification and digitalisation. And apart from the repetitive themes, I have come to discover two other similarities that I find interesting.
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The first discovery is more obvious than the second one. Namely, the expectations of the audience. It is clear that the people who attend these seminars basically have the same purpose of attending, and wants to learn the same things. However, unfortunately, their quest to learn is limited by my second discovery; there are only a handful of contemporary speakers who are able to meet the expectations of the audience.
What the audience wants to know
Based on my own experience, the main reason for people to attend conferences and seminars about onlinification and digitalisation is that:
They want to know what other comparable companies do and how they do that.
The main purpose of attending, among the majority of the audience, is to be able to translate best practice into their own realities and challenges. Therefore, the audience expects the speakers to have true experience from leading or being part of successful projects for comparable companies. In other words, they expect the keynote speaker to know how it is to be them.
Why most speakers fail to meet the audience expectations
Speakers tend to talk too much about what they claim to be trends and truths. Instead of referring to their personal experiences from comparable companies, they rather talk about what giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Tesla are doing. Using these companies as references makes it difficult for the majority of the audience.
Listening to Amazon's next step in voice command, may not be a top priority for the decision makers who are considering whether his or her pharmaceutical company should launch e-commerce or not. Or for the hundred-year-old transportation company that builds busses or trucks. Or for the material handling and logistics company that manufactures forklifts. For these players, it becomes very difficult to translate these type of examples into their own reality and challenges here and now.
How to improve the quality of onlinification and digitalisation seminars
2019, speakers need to stretch their presentation, due to that most companies already know why they need to undergo change. They are - at this point - aware of the customers changed behaviour, needs and expectations. Since they already know why they are now impatient and eager to find out what comparable companies do and how they do that.
If you are planning to arrange or attend a seminar about onlinification and digitalisation, I have compiled useful questions to ask the keynote speaker, whether you're a host or an attendee.
Feel free to download the questions in PowerPoint format below.
Questions to ask before booking a keynote speaker:
Questions to ask the keynote speaker when attending a seminar: