The Secret of CPD

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 by Simon Morton

CPD presentations have an undeserved reputation for being the trickiest of balancing acts. They share three key ingredients with all presentations; education, engagement and sales. It is only in the balance of these ingredients that CPD presentations differ from those designed purely for sales.

Education is the overriding aim of every CPD presentation so the first objective is to educate in a way that transcends ‘box ticking’ and leaves a lasting impression.

The audience engagement aspect of a CPD presentation comes next – your presentation needs to be interesting. It sounds like such a simple thing but as we all know being educated is not inherently interesting.

Getting these two ingredients right is the difference between seeing a picture of a Spitfire and standing underneath one on a low level flypast. The picture will educate you, but the experience will stimulate and inspire you for far longer.

This is incredibly important for achieving a perfect blend with the third ingredient – sales.

The sales aspect of CPD is often treated like the embarrassing relative that nobody mentions. But we need to be totally honest here; access to a captive audience is what motivates many CPD providers. So our smallest, and to the provider most important, ingredient has become the biggest challenge.

Sales presentations are usually designed to illicit a purchasing response from your audience in a very short timescale, ideally before you’ve left the room. CPD presentations cannot do this. Any sales opportunities will be on a much longer timeline. What you need to achieve in the minds of your audience is longevity, they need to retain enough information about you and your business for it to be readily accessed by them at a later date.

This can be done in a couple of different ways.

The simplest of these is repurposing as this allows your audience to access your presentations again in the future. There are several options for repurposing that are effective for CPD presentations including hard copies or electronic versions of your presentation to leave with your audience and auto-run ‘refresher’ versions that they can access on your company website. These are both simple solutions to the problem of staying in your audiences’ mind until they need your product or service.

With an interesting and educational presentation you can also exploit the human brain’s amazing ‘random access memory’. This is where the Spitfire makes a welcome reappearance – if your audience has only seen the picture once they are only likely to recall it vaguely (if at all). If your audience has current access to the picture (repurposing) they may well have another look at some point and might even try to access similar information or indeed show it to someone else. But if your audience experienced the fly past then their whole memory of the event can be triggered by a chance remark, a similar sound or any one of a hundred spurious stimuli.

You, your business, products and services, will be remembered voluntarily.

So, there are selling opportunities with a CPD but they rely heavily on getting the first two elements correct, without this you and your company will not be able to maximise the sales opportunities that CPD presentations can offer.

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