Client Seminars are a fantastic business development tool, especially in today’s competitive market, where clients are demanding more added-value from their relationships with firms and partners. But these events are costly to run, how can you ensure you are making the most from them?
The challenge facing many firms is how to deliver a seminar that will be remembered for the right reasons. An event that achieves its overall objective – to retain existing clients, while also attracting new ones, as well as add real value and leave the audience wanting more.
The content is key, but the delivery is critical to the success of any live event. The presenter/s and panels must engage the audience, retain their interest and create an authentic connection between themselves and the seminar attendees. Easier said than done.
For many of the senior-level executives I work with, presenting is an expected part of their role, but it is not always a natural skill. The pressure on the presenter to give a ‘good’ presentation, delivering the best version of themselves – and the firm – with confidence and credibility, can become overwhelming, as my client explains:
Partners and associates are obviously under pressure from clients and billable work, time is scarce and when a presentation is weeks out, they feel like they have plenty of time to get ready. Their prep is put on the ‘long finger’. But the prep is important, and these seminars are high stakes – if a partner or associate does not come across well, they potentially do themselves, and the firm, out of work.
My presentation coaching can really help here. Here’s how I worked with a leading Irish law firm to ensure that they delivered a successful event.
I worked with my client’s PSL (professional support lawyer) to, firstly, identify all the partners and associates who wished to receive support and coaching in preparation for the seminar, including the host. She continues:
I briefed Jeremy beforehand on the individuals he would be working with – their strengths and weaknesses and how they might respond to feedback, particularly in a group situation. He listened and adapted accordingly.
I then reviewed each individual presentation to ensure the content was audience-centric, with a clear outcome. This process allowed me to oversee – with a 360-degree view – all of the content being delivered on the day, to make sure that the firm’s messaging and tone was consistent.
Although not a lawyer, Jeremy picks up on the key messages really quickly – even when not always readily apparent due to the presentation being ill-structured in the first instance.
Next, I observed and coached the presenters on their content, body language and voice to make sure that they were physically communicating in a positive way and fine-tuned the running order to confirm that the overall event would be engaging. I did this via Zoom, which saves money and time. My client outlines the positive impact of this approach:
The rehearsals made everyone realise – in a good way – that they weren’t as prepared as they thought, and that while they may have known their topics inside out, that didn’t necessarily mean they were getting their key message across effectively.
He made everyone think about the audience and what they needed and wanted to know. This seems basic, but the reality is no-one had thought about it because they hadn’t given themselves time to prepare their presentations properly.
One of our most senior and well-respected senior partners completely restructured his presentation immediately following Jeremy’s feedback.
I continued to work with the presenters to fine-tune their content and address any anxiety issues and finally, a full dress rehearsal took place to make sure everyone was ready and confident enough to deliver to the best of their ability.
The presentations never come across as ‘rehearsed’. Partners and associates are now so much more confident in their presenting ability that their delivery feels relaxed, allowing their knowledge and experience of the topic to shine through.
The difference between the presentations before and after working with Jeremy was incredible. Everyone wants to do seminars now! The whole practice group is buzzing.
I have now worked with 6 other practice groups across the firm, with similar results.
The seminars no longer create a sense of anxiety within the firm or distract the team from their day-to-day workload. Partners and associates now have learnt a preparation process that works, are more able to communicate effectively and most importantly, they deliver with confidence.
The individual presentations are much stronger, both in content and delivery, and as a group, the team comes across as seamless and professional.
Partners have also developed more confidence with their approach to other business development events and activities, with a greater understanding of what ‘good’ looks like and feel more confident about the presentations that they have to do in other settings, such as external conferences.
I would highly recommend working with Jeremy. People, at all levels, listen and respond well to him. He is approachable and highly effective. He made my role in organising the seminars much easier – it felt as though we were working together on the project, part of the same team, rather than working with an external service provider. It was definitely money well spent!