Recently I attended an IDCEC approved course called “Unleashing Creativity and Tapping into the Intuitive Mind.” The description of the course touted tools for reducing stress and problem solving at work and at home. When I signed up I remember being excited and thinking this course would have universal appeal. Who wouldn’t be interested in attending something like that? I was excited to learn and to share with the rAVe audience whatever golden nuggets I might take away. But I have to say that what I learned was completely unexpected.
Unfortunately for me, I found that the course overpromised and under-delivered — I think partly because I generally didn’t fit the audience she was addressing. The instructor was clearly creative and right brain as was the mainly interior designer audience. I attended this event with a co-worker who I would say is a shining example of the type of people in our industry: left brain. He is analytic, logical and technical. This presentation was lost on him almost immediately. He took it as this hippie out in space thing that he just could not relate to. Although I was much more open to it, even I found myself losing patience at times — because even though she incorporated a lot of fun things into her presentation there lacked a concise message and the tools promised.
This is not to bash on the presenter because in this case, she likely did provide a quality presentation geared towards her audience. Interior designers are very creative and many were obviously engaged during the evening where as we are more technical. My co-worker and I found ourselves in a unique position, experiencing firsthand what it feels like to attend one of these events and not identify with the content being presented and the effect that has on the learning experience and the lasting impression it leaves.
As I stated, in our industry we’re generally technical so I have no doubt we’re able to present good information — but we have considered our audience? Are we speaking in a language that they understand? Can they relate to it and will they care?
This is not the first time we as an industry have talked about this. I’ve heard great presentations from Dana Innovations and others about this very thing but I have to say that after this experience I fully understand this in a first person context. It’s not theoretical. It’s not reading it in a book. I have internalized it having been on the other side.
So although unintended, what I actually ended up taking away from this course was the importance of the quality of your presentation and being mindful of your audience when marketing to influencers through lunch-and-learns or similar networking events. The success of these activities will hinge on this.
At the end of the day, they may have earned a CEU by attending your event, but was it an enjoyable experience? Will they come back to you? Did they relate to you? Can they talk to you? That is something that we need to remember as we go forward.