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The Best Topics for Speakers Are Unexpected

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If you’re considering organizing an Indianapolis speaking event, you are probably thinking of telling people all about your business. But that’s precisely what you don’t want to do.

That’s not to say that you can’t give a workshop about something related to your business. If you’re a credit union, you might hire a expert on personal finance education. If you’re a marketing company, you might teach seminars on marketing techniques. And we offer our own Indianapolis productivity training courses.

Indianapolis Speakers - Presenter Talking

© Flickr user libdems

While these can be helpful, they are also entirely predictable. Of course the law firm is going to give a seminar about updates to federal law. Of course the accounting firm is going to bring in a speaker to talk about the latest changes in the tax code. If you’re interested in these topics, you will attend.

However, no one expects a speaker to talk about something that has nothing to do with the sponsor. That’s one of the factors in the great success of Sparks, a monthly speaking event that we’ve been sponsoring and supporting here at AccelaWork since it first started in 2012. But there are a couple of key reasons why having unexpected topics for speakers will benefit your business.

The Power of Expectations

Even though we know that expectations are problematic for our psychology, they are still a part of everyday life. We think we know what’s going to happen, and when an event is advertised as sponsored by a particular company, we assume that company is going to want to talk about their industry.

Expectations tend to put us into a box where we assume we know, and breaking out of that box with a bit of surprise can get people engaged.

Everyone Is Learning

Normally, there’s a range of expertise in any room. Some people have some knowledge about the topic at hand, and others are hearing about it for the first time. But if it’s a sponsored event, employees of that company are likely confident they already know everything that’s being covered.

However, if the topic doesn’t align to the industry of the firm that is hosting, then even the people who work there are probably paying attention and taking notes. That helps everyone to focus because everyone is looking to the speaker.

No One Is Selling

This may be the biggest reason why people decide to pass on corporate events. If they believe it’s going to be a sales pitch, they don’t want to be there. Most people like to buy, not many people like to be sold to. And if it’s a corporate VP who is giving the presentation, that is what is expected.

Therefore, inviting someone from outside the company to speak can help increase both your credibility and your attendance. And if that expert has a following of their own, you may get people in the room who you wouldn’t see otherwise. Everyone wins!

Surprise is the Essence of Storytelling

Presentations are a form of theater. In fact, they may be the oldest art form: people by the light of a campfire, telling their histories or their mythologies. In all good stories, not knowing everything that is going to happen is what keeps us engaged.

That doesn’t mean everything can be totally new and unexpected. You have to get some details to get people interested initially. But working with a presenter that is unfamiliar to your audience who is bringing a topic they did not anticipate will be more likely to draw them in.

“Story is a yearning meeting an obstacle. ” –Robert Olen Butler

Need help finding a speaker for your next marketing event? Contact AccelaWork to help. We’d love to be of service!

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Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter is a workflow and productivity expert. He is a nationally known speaker on topics related to personal productivity, corporate efficiency and employee engagement. Robby is the founder of AccelaWork, a company which provides speakers and consultants to a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, regional non-profits, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Robby has written numerous articles for national magazines and has over one hundred published pieces. He is also the author of several books, including Failure: The Secret to Success. He has also been interviewed by international news outlets including the Wall Street Journal. Robby’s newest book is The Battle For Your Email Inbox.
Robby Slaughter


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