Recently a professional speaker posed this question to a group of her peers: “How far are you willing to travel to a 3-hour workshop that meets your needs?”
First, let’s ignore the whole “meets your needs” limitation. That’s entire article unto itself. “Meets your needs” smacks of “customer satisfaction” and we all know how worthless that is.
As is frequently the case, the wrong question leads to the wrong answer. Most of the feedback she received included answers that referred to miles they were willing to travel or time they’d be willing to spend in the car in order to attend workshop of that duration.
Instead of dwelling on how many miles-per-butt-cheek they could endure, why not flip the question to find more interesting answers?
Here are some potential ways the question could have been reframed:
- What kind of information would people be willing to travel half way around the world to access?
- How can the information be delivered to people unable to attend a live workshop?
- Where would I be willing to travel to get this information into the hands of the people who need it?
I chose to change the question and answered from this perspective:
“How could the commute to-and-from the event be incorporated into the overall experience?”
A completely different set of answers comes from this question, right?
Instead of worrying about how empty their gas tanks were, I concerned myself with how full I could make their minds.
The commute itself allows a unique opportunity to warm-up and prime the audience to the content being delivered, and the return trip is conducive to processing all the information they received. My core concept was to provide a CD or audio download to anyone who registers for the conference. The CD features the speaker delivering information preparing the audience to be open and receptive to the ideas she will be sharing.
- A basic agenda of what they can expect during the event.
- Self-assessment quiz so they can evaluate where they stand in relation to the content in the workshop.
- Musical interludes to get their blood flowing and energy pumping.
- Humorous stories to get them smiling.
- An interactive game to engage (a gas station scavenger hunt or roadtrip photo safari) — award prizes to participants at the event.
At the conclusion of the event, provide recipients with a second CD for the ride home. Include some home-themed travel music along with a recap of lessons learned and a plan of action they can use to implement the ideas they walked away with (and review on-demand long after their return trip has been completed.)
- Ask different questions, get different answers
Reframe your queries in a concerted effort to change the perspective of your answers.
- Ask for the benefit of your audience
Instead of asking how you can better profit from your efforts, ask how your efforts can better benefit your clients.
- Ask outside the circle
If you only ask your question of people within your own industry or circle of friends, you’re likely to get the same answers back in a different voice. Instead, ask people with a variety of backgrounds, ages, and experience levels. Asking an adult how long they’d be willing to ride in a car for a visit to Disney World will likely be far different answer than a kid’s (or mine!)
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