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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spreading the Word

Do you have an upcoming event or seminar planned and you need to get the word out? It can be a challenge to get the news of your event in front of folks who might be interested in attending. This is especially true if your budget is limited! So, what are some options for garnering attention?

1.      Good old-fashioned press releases can still be very effective – if the media happens to pick yours up. Some newspapers do have event calendars and will include your event there. Note that some papers will only publish free events at no charge; expect to pay if you want your fee-based event included.

2.      Online PRs geared toward SEO are also an option—though these generally have a price attached to them based on the topic and distribution.

3.      Add the seminar to your Events page on Facebook and post about it (free). Ask fans to tell their friends. If you have the budget, run ads in Facebook targeted at the demographic you are trying to reach.

4.      Include your event on your website with the appropriate keywords and make it easy to register. Then include a link to the page in your e-newsletter in a short article with details about the session.

5.      Find a group whose members would have interest in the topic and ask them to promote it to their members. (LinkedIn is a good place to search for groups.) Optionally, partner with someone else whose interests are similar.

6.       Add the event to

We know how hard it can be to get news of your event in front of the right people, but keep trying! You may have to test several channels to find what works best for you. If you have found a great solution, we'd love to hear from you. Good luck!

Dealing With Feedback

When our speakers address an audience, we always ask for feedback. That doesn’t mean we always get it, but when audience members do take time to respond, we use that feedback to try and improve. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life that people who respond to surveys or fill out responses frequently either love you or hate you. Those who don’t feel strongly either way sometimes think their responses won’t matter or simply don’t want to bother.

It is important when you do receive feedback that you visibly act upon it. Even if someone is unhappy, if they see you working to fix the complaint they reported, they are much more likely to give you a second chance. More importantly, they are less likely to speak negatively of their experience to friends. It is critical, however, that you do not brush off criticism as if it doesn’t matter.
Negative feedback can be very difficult to hear. Most people have a tendency to take such comments personally and lash out. If the responder provided a name, or if you can tell by the comments alone who the person is, you should never approach them in a confrontational manner. If they did provide their name and you do want to speak with them further, think ahead about how you might approach them. Always begin the discussion with, “I really appreciate your feedback and am working to improve…”

One of my favorite stories to tell goes back to when I first started speaking. I presented at a session beginning at 9 a.m. and collected feedback forms at the end of the session. Everything was positive except for several comments about not providing breakfast. The solution: donuts and juice every time! If you have received feedback that was memorable or was especially funny, we’d love to hear about it. Send us your story at

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