How to write better follow-ups to your seminars and training sessions

If you read my recent article “How to write better F2F seminars and training sessions” you’ll know I dangled a carrot – about how to make your messages stick in participants’s minds, rather than get dribbled away by time, stress, cluttered brain syndrome and more.

Writing better follow ups to seminars and training

Geography permitting, you could set up a semi-social networking group, or (if appropriate) an internal social group, consisting of the original live events’ participants and a few other key individuals.

It doesn’t matter how interested people are. It doesn’t matter how dramatic and fascinating the content is. It doesn’t matter how much you pay a famous keynote speaker to whip them up into a frenzy and get them dancing all the way out to the parking lot shouting the company tagline.

They forget.

Solution? Follow up. And follow up well.

Needless to say the reason why you follow up is to ensure you get participants to engage permanently with the main messages of your seminar or training session.

You may think that you can lean a lot harder on in-company staffers and suppliers with these follow-ups because you have them on a shorter chain. However internal training managers can learn a lot from the sales/marketing/PR breed of seminar in that too much follow-up can turn participants right off, even if their pay checks or businesses depend on you.

In the case of a commercial seminar the long term objectives stemming from it might be:

  • Upkeep of contact with a view to long-term sales
  • Reinforcement of brand loyalty
  • Opportunities to introduce new products/services

And in the case of a training event, the long term objectives are likely to include:

  • Upkeep of motivation
  • Reinforcement of company loyalty
  • Opportunities to introduce new systems, techniques, etc.

Interestingly, although the objectives in the two cases are different, they also have similarities. So it’s possible to group the ways to write better follow-ups together.

Some ideas on how to write better follow-ups

1.Newsletters. These can be distributed either by external or internal email. They should be written purely to participants in your event, preferably by (or signed by) the leader/facilitator who was present on the day. The newsletters should contain content that reinforces the key points made during the live event, including curation of relevant articles supporting the points made, recent comments on that topic by “thought leaders,” and most important of all a very clear and open invitation for readers to feed back their thoughts and questions on the topic.

2.Dedicated blog. This can contain similar content to that of the email newsletters, but should offer added value … perhaps by getting participants in the live event to guest-blog about their ongoing use of the messages concerned, how they’re getting on with their (related) development, etc. This is another place where you can actively encouragement engagement and discussion.

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3.Social media group or community. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus etc. offer you the chance to set up a group or community purely for the participants in your original live event. Of course you can add people to this group if you repeat the events, but don’t be tempted to let everyone in … you’ll soon get the spammers! You can share links in the group/community to the blog each time you post, and also announce new information, events, plans, etc.

4.More face-to-face activity. This does not have to consist of further formal events but, geography permitting, you could set up a semi-social networking group, or (if appropriate) an internal social group, consisting of the original live events’ participants and a few other key individuals. This group could meet informally now and again over breakfast, lunch, coffee or evening drinks to catch up on each others’ news and experiences, all under the umbrella of the messages you generated in that original event.

5.Webinars, podcasts, live streaming video, etc. If geography makes it hard to get people together F2F, these various online means of communication are very handy and offer several advantages to you, as the writer and creator of the content. That’s mainly because it can all be generated in your own time and probably from your own desktop or laptop, rather than booking, organising and attending live social events. However don’t forget that there’s nothing quite so affirming as genuine human contact and when it comes to commercial or training exercises, that still beats technology.

What other ideas do you have for writing and creating productive follow-ups to live events?

Please share your thoughts!

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