What are you talking about?

Businessman listening with cupped hand

How ‘presearch’ helps ensure the relevance and reach of your conference messages

Achieving a balance between what senior leaders want to talk about and what their people want to find out about, is a discussion that all too rarely takes place.  That’s a missed opportunity for all forms of communication, especially in the lead up to an annual conference, roadshow or town hall.  You can easily avoid this, with some simple advance research, or presearch if you like.

How do you maximise the relevance of your message?

The question you need to answer to maximise the relevance of your messages, help join up the dots for people, or even avoid a total mismatch, is ‘what are you talking about?’  In truth there are better ways to phrase it.  Such as, ‘what are the hot topics of discussion in your team?’ or ‘what’s the word on the street?’ or ‘what are people actually chatting about whilst grabbing their coffee?’  And there’s no need to ask everyone, just a representative sample.

Internal social media tools make it possible to quickly capture high level feedback.  But to get deeper insights, you need to be asking more probing questions through some short telephone interviews or sounding boards.  And experience tells me that folk are more likely to speak candidly when talking to an independent third party.  We are certainly seeing an increasing demand for this service.

We conducted presearch of this nature recently, in the run-up to a client’s leadership event. Through this, we identified the top five topics participants wanted to find out about, then found that none of them were covered in the draft agenda.  A complete disconnect.

Remember to feed back your research findings

However you conduct your research, it is important to play back the results as early as possible to leaders, speakers and content creators alike.  This will help them to shape, align and potentially even fully inform their messages.

Without this research, communicators and conference presenters might be sitting in dark windowless rooms, having dark windowless thoughts about what to cover.

The impact of presearch

The outcomes of your presearch can shine a new light on proceedings.  Speakers can be genuinely more ‘tuned in’, authenticly position their content as meeting the needs of participants, and use examples in their presentations that are relevant to their audience.  Although your core messages might stay the same, in the case of regional road shows, there will be more ways to finesse elements of your content to meet local needs.

Investing in ‘presearch’ can really pay dividends for the business, its communicators, speakers and the colleagues they seek to inspire.  Miss the opportunity, and you run the risk that your colleagues will be quietly uttering the question ‘what are you talking about?’, but this time of their leaders, reacting to content that doesn’t connect.