Unfortunately, CPD is not always done well and in my recent article for CIMCIG Making the Most of CPD I offered some suggestions for improvement. In this blog I summarise this article with a look at what you should avoid when providing CPD.

The content is too techy

I’ve seen far too many seminars that have been written by the technical department: pages of words and data with no clear message. Yes, it needs to be technically correct but it also needs to deliver a few key messages in a concise manner and be clearly laid out. Follow the rules of any other presentation: a few simple statements on each page, not too wordy, and use supporting images. Have a clear story and end with a call to action.

Your presentation style is dry

It needs to be clear, fluid and entertaining. It’s not acceptable to stand in front of an audience reading from a script. Rehearse your speakers so that they can deliver the script without reading it. Investing in presentation skills training will repay itself many times over.

You are not ‘selling’ your seminar

Remember that it’s not just architects who need CPD and can influence the selection of your products. Draw up a list of targets from among the top specifying organisations working within your sectors. Make sure that everyone knows about your seminar: Issue a press release, have details clearly displayed on your website and directly approach your target organisations. Have material you can immediately send or email, which introduces your seminar, presents the benefits and has a call to action.

You are not doing your research

When you receive a booking it is important to complete some background research: What projects the practice are currently working on? Have they used your products before and, if so, on what projects? Make sure your presenter knows as much as possible about the practice before the seminar.

You are not following-up

Delivering the seminar is not the end of the process, but the start. You need to define a series of follow-up actions to ensure that you get the maximum return from the visit, help build relationships and create opportunities. This will allow you to maximise and measure the return you get from your investment.

Conclusion

When done well, CPD seminars are an extremely effective tool that can lead to long term relationships and significant business gains. Done badly, they’re a waste of money and can even discredit your company. So get it right!

First published by RIBA Insight March 2014.

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