No apologies the ‘years of experience’ card has to be played today. My notes reference five people who question large talk schedules and see who commend the policy.

Let’s go back to May 2017: 

I wrote that we would have fewer talks and see if this kept Visitors ‘on the floor’ during the shows. My idea was a dismal failure, visitors stayed for about three hours and left. Liz and I have slowly built the schedule over the last twelve months, and Visitors now visit longer and return time and again.

As the attendance figures continue to rise we should accept the talks are very much part of the attraction. Not only do we gain this knowledge from conversations with Visitors at the shows. Of great importance is the website analytic; which guides that the shows talks pages have the same degree of attention as the attending Community pages. There is little doubt the Visitors consider talks as very much part of the enjoyment of attending.

Some may feel the talks keep the Visitors away from The Community. The suggestion is understandable as there may be over a hundred people attending the talk rooms. It is, of course, impossible for Visitors to be in two places. However, there is a way of considering the issue in another way. Imagine the Visitors as a sea, which flows with the tide. They spend time talking to The Community, drink a coffee in the refreshment area and then attend a talk. 

This flow is essential to keep our Visitors at the show. As difficult as it is to accept if we are to encourage Visitors we have to give them a large choice and varied experience. The Community is a fantastic attraction, and our followers are growing. Not only is the growth evident, but there are also Visitors who have become loyal to our format and ethos. It is not possible to ignore the headways The Community is making with people who attend the Well Being Shows.

Reread the first paragraph:

“Let’s go back to May 2017. I wrote that we would have fewer talks and see if this kept Visitors ‘on the floor’ during the shows. My idea was a dismal failure, visitors stayed for about three hours and left. Liz and I have slowly built the schedule over the last twelve months, and Visitors now visit longer and return time and again”.

If the talk schedule is extensive and varied, the Visitor may well miss a presentation and return to attend later in the year. In the same way, Visitors connect to certain Community members at one show and others at the next. Indeed, this is why we have a varied Community list for every show. There are an ebb and flow of those who attend. 

Some feel they become more established by regular attendance and others think the opposite. This has to be a personal assessment and whatever the preference the choice will be the right one. In the same way, some will review their stall presentation, and other will keep it fixed. On the subject of talks; some will stay with one specific talk and others will change and vary the matter.

The priority is Visitor enjoyment. When we keep the Visitor, the attendance of the show will grow, and The Community will prosper. I feel The Community is beginning to realise they are part of a different style and ethos. The Visitors positively comment on the atmosphere and unification of The Community.

Our talk schedule is part of the Visitor experience, and we should accept the programme is the second reason they attend the show. I spoke to a friend recently, who said she’d attended a show without talks. ‘The exhibitors were ok Ian, but after two hours it was time to go home’. 

People love information, and that is why we will always have an extensive number of presenters. Writing of presenters, tomorrows article will give the reasons why we would never pay for someone to ‘talk’ at our shows.

See You Soon

 

8 COMMENTS

  1. I believe that the case for providing talks at Lizian Events shows is overwhelming.

    The public like them, they are a reason for coming, they justify the admission fee, they keep people on site longer, they inform, they provide an ebb and flow of stand visitor traffic, and they offer visitors the chance to sit down for three quarters of an hour to rejuvenate and refresh themselves. They are also a platform for exhibitors to promote themselves, their products, and their services.

    Lizian are spearheading the concept of Well Being shows as “shows”, the talks dynamic is likely to evolve to reflect this,

    The future is exciting. I predict that the talks will become more sophisticated with increasing use of powerpoint, slide and video producing multi-media presentations. I predict that presenters will become more adept at capturing the opportunity the audience provides for business, harvesting data, offering vouchers and direct bookings.

    The show itself will also evolve. I predict PA announcements of when talks are beginning, and large LED displays ( similar to railway station departure/arrival boards) detailing the day’s speakers and times.

    There are practical considerations still to be worked through. Should the same talks be available from the same speakers on consecutive days? To what extent should the programme vary from event to event? If the audience is different on a Saturday to a Sunday, and from show to show, replicating strong talks has merit.

  2. Agreed the public absolutely love talks lve been told time and time again that a person has just turned up to listen to a particular talk … it’s talks all the way in my book

  3. Speaking from a customer standpoint from when I used to attend the stalls were an added bonus, I came mostly for the talks, being somebody who is like a sponge and like the idea of evolving I think it is crucial to have that balance of talks and community members, both complement one another. I still strongly believe once you get your clients/customers through the door we ALL have a vital role in keeping them there and engaging with as many as possible, this will in time strengthen the bonds and also encourage higher visitor numbers this will in turn help clients towards that target of becoming a well-being.

  4. I would like to say that before becoming an exhibitor at the show, I would look at the programme of talks and the exhibitor schedule before deciding to attend. I loved the talks and went to many of them. They were the deciding factor as to whether I went on a Saturday or a Sunday. I’d arrive in time to hear the talk, mooch around the stands, have a cuppa, then go to the next talk before having a second look at the stands. It was nice to spend best part of the day there – and be a little self-indulgent. Over a period of time, I’d listened to the all of the talks that grabbed my interest, then I virtually stopped going to the shows until new talks were scheduled. If there was something I specifically wanted to buy, then I’d go and get it, then leave the show after an hour or so. To me the talks are essential.

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