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Archive for Presentations

Your online classroom: How can you get feedback when you can’t see them in person? You don’t want to just fly by the seat of your pants!

From Classroom to Online: Fraught with Challenges

Most instructors, especially in the real estate field, teach ‘live’. That is, we did teach live until the last few months! We’ve had to hustle to convert our live classroom courses to online offerings.

  1. Inability to hold attendees’ attention
  2. Unable to have attendees do any work to put the concepts in ‘real life’
  3. No interaction with students
  4. Not finding out student needs and student interactions

Today: First Step in Converting your Classroom to Online is to Find Out What They Want

When we’re ‘live’, we often start the course with ‘what do you want from today’? We hold a discussion or work with small groups to get that information to everyone. Then, we know how to proceed. During the course, we review that list and address concerns during the course. However, when we go online, we generally don’t find out what students needs are–and we just forge ahead with information. No wonder the attendees lose attention!

Why Finding Needs is Really Important when Teaching Online

You’re in a store. You hear your name called. You immediately look around to see who’s calling you. You then find out it’s another ‘Dave’. But, you paid attention, right? Same principle is true when you’re teaching online. I’m not suggesting you call out people’s names. But, find some way to determine your audience’s needs–what they want from the course–so you can directly address those needs as you teach.  And, let them know the important concerns and how you’re addressing them.

Do a Pre-Conference Survey  

For my Instructor Development Course (live), I send out a pre-conference survey. Take a look. Then, I address the concerns as I teach. (I also do a needs analysis at the beginning of the course). In my distance learning online course, Train the Trainer, I ask participants what they want from the course in the first section.  This helps focus attendees on the areas where they said they wanted to gain strategies.

A Survey with your Registration

Depending on the online platform you use, you may be able to create a  short survey  with your registration. I did that for my last few webinars (see the recording below of the webinar on taking your classroom online). From my survey, I found that 70% of the challenges expressed by the attendees was

how to hold the audience’s attention

So, I created several specific strategies for attendees to use to address that concern. 

How will you get attendees’ concerns so you can get their attention and create your online course with that in mind?


Want to watch the video of my webinar Masterclass: How to Take your Classroom Online?  Go to www.carlacross.com, and press the Webinars and More Button. You’ll see the post with the video and the handouts available for you.

Let’s Work Together to Make your Online Course Awesome!

I’ve extended the registration period to June 30, so you can take advantage of the 2 for 1 registration. Don’t teach online until you have a tried and true ‘formula’ and have tested your results. You’ll have an opportunity to do both, with individual coaching from Carla Cross.

They’re not paying attention! Here are two creative ways to keep their attention and interest when you’re training online.

From Classroom to Online–Not as Easy as We Think…..

Why? Because we’re not physically there. We don’t have that energy, that interchange that we depended on when we’re ‘live’ to hold their attention.

The Problem: Not Enough Variety When We Teach

When we’re training ‘live’, we get away with using one or two training methods–mainly lecture and discussion. But, when we’re go online, just those two methods don’t suffice. In fact, a majority of my online training attendees say they lose interest, on average, in 5-15 minutes! 

Two Creative Methods to Focus Your Audience’s Attention  

  1. Get them up! Imagine it’s a usual day in your business. How many hours a day are you in training or meetings now online? Two–four–or more? You can’t help it–you get distracted and bored!  And, if you’re a trainer, you’re probably more able to focus on the training than most! 

I just saw a trainer give this assignment: “Get out of your chair. Go find something that has significance to you, regarding our topic. Come back and tell us why you chose that object.” The attendees loved the exercise!

How could you use that idea? If you’re teaching listing presentations, you could bring back a picture of your home and talk about what appealed to you. If you’re teaching how to create a database, you could bring back your Christmas card list (or a bunch of Christmas cards you’ve received). 

This exercise does several things. It gets people out of their chairs! It refreshes their mind. It helps them focus on what’s important to them. Then, when you share the results with everyone, you start to build camaraderie with your attendees.

2. Send a box with things inside you’re going to use in your course–and don’t let people open it until they start your class. Isn’t that fun–and kind of mysterious? We all love to get boxes (Have you gotten a box from Amazon and had forgotten what you’ve ordered? Of course….). Doing this exercise helps you focus on your attendees and prepares them that they will have a different experience with you. Then, your box could include exercise, mystery objects–whatever creative things you can dream up to include.

Want more information and inspiration? Check out my prior blogs here for more strategies you can implement to provide variety and keep their attention.

Want more ideas? Watch my video below. 

Want to watch the video of my webinar Masterclass: How to Take your Classroom Online?  Go to www.carlacross.com, and press the Webinars and More Button. You’ll see the post with the video and the handouts available for you.

Let’s Work Together to Make your Online Course Awesome!

I’ve extended the registration period to June 30, so you can take advantage of the 2 for 1 registration. Don’t teach online until you have a tried and true ‘formula’ and have tested your results. You’ll have an opportunity to do both, with individual coaching from Carla Cross.

Here are two effective methods to increase attention and online learning.

According to my informal surveys, real estate professionals and affiliates who teach say that holding students’ attention is a huge challenge when teaching online. In fact, instructors say that they are more concerned with holding students’ attention than any other consideration when taking their courses online.

How Long Can We Keep Our Attention Focused When We’re Taking a Webinar?

Woops! Most of our webinars are at least 45 minutes long!

Instructor Are Good Learners…..

Would you agree that we instructors are good learners? So, if we lose attention that fast, think about our attendees!

What does that mean to us as instructors? It means we have to create methods to hold learners’ attention and increase their learning. These methods will be somewhat different, at times, from what we do when we teach ‘live’.

Method #1: Provide Rewards for Participation

I just finished a webinar on how to convert your classroom course to online (see below for how to access the video). I wanted to help attendees take these ideas and immediately apply them to their courses. I was concerned that, because there was lots of material in a short period of time, attendees could be overwhelmed and not know how to start. So,  I promised I’d send my Big Ideas in a Little Book to the first 10 people who emailed me after the webinar, telling me what they were going to implement right away.

I will also follow up with my ten ‘winners’ to find out how they’ve implemented their ideas. This can form another blog or article, and give them some publicity (if they want it), too.

Question: What ‘reward’ could you offer to participants for finishing work, or promising to put to work some of the ideas in your webinar?

To the left is another example. In my Train the Trainer distance learning program (15 clock hours), I’ve created ‘badges’ that are rewarded for good work. This is just one way I can show that I appreciate the work and dedication of the participants.

Method #2: Provide Work to be Done During or after the Webinar

How ‘passive’ is your webinar? Are you doing all the work? Are your attendees merely listening? Or, do you have your attendees doing some work when you’re teaching ‘live’? If so, it will be easy for you to ‘translate’ that to your online platform.

Use a Handout with Work to be Done

In the webinar I mentioned, I created a handout for each participant with questions for them to answer as they proceeded in the webinar. I addressed a topic, and then provided some ‘time out’ for participants to decide how they could use that idea in their own course. By the time they finished the webinar, they had filled out a page of ideas on how to ‘translate’ that ‘live’ course to an online platform. (See the information below on how to get a copy of that handout).

Question: What work or handout could you provide to use as you introduce topics in your webinar? How could you involve students in completing the questions?

In my next few blogs, we’ll investigate more ways to hold attendees’ attention and increase learning.

Want to watch the video of my webinar Masterclass: How to Take your Classroom Online? I’ll have the video posted by Saturday, with the handouts. Go to www.carlacross.com, and press the Webinars and More Button. You’ll see the post with the video and the handouts available for you.

Masterclass From Classroom to Online

How I can help you go online with confidence:

  1. Contact me to see if a customized webinar series would work for your organization. We’ll work right through the organizational, teaching, and attention engagement challenges. 425-392-6914 or carla@carlacross.com
  2. Take part in my Mastermind Group. In a series of 4 Zoom meetings, over a period of 4 weeks, we’ll translate your course from classroom to online. You’ll have a chance to practice and get feedback, too. Investment: $499, and you can bring a friend FREE if you email me by June 20: carla@carlacross.com.

From classroom to online: Why can’t we keep the audience’s attention like we do in the classroom?

The situation: We real estate instructors are good talkers.  (as are most instructors in all fields). That’s one of the reasons we love to teach. We love to impart our knowledge. Most of our teaching has been done ‘live’. In a ‘live’ classroom, we can get away with talking (we call it ‘lecturing’) for the whole class–we think.

At least, we have a fighting chance at keeping our attendees’ attention, because we’re animated, funny, and compelling–and we tell great stories.  The students love us, because we have asked them to have no accountability for their own learning. In addition, they love to be entertained! (Well, at least that’s true for some of us….)

Not many teaching methods are employed in the ‘live’ classroom.

Why don’t we use more teaching methods? 

  1. We’re creatures of habit, and we have honed our skills in these two areas. We don’t want to give that up to try some new methods.
  2. We believe that talking to or with our attendees is the best way to teach. True, it’s the best way to impart lots of information fast. However, studies show that students will not retain much of the information!
  3. We just don’t know how to teach in any other ways.
  4. Sad truth: We may be too lazy or uninspired to expand our teaching methods.

The inadequacies really show up when we go online. In a week, I’m doing a webinar on how to take your classroom online. In the pre-webinar survey, I asked attendees their biggest concerns. About 70% of the concerns were

how to hold the audience’s attention online.

No wonder. Because we’ve relied on instructor-focused training, we attempt to merely turn on the camera and talk as though our audience were with us in the classroom. We’ve found out that doesn’t work to keep an audience’s attention online.   

Adjustments We Must Make to Be Effective Online

First, before we re-create that course online, we must look at our classroom version of our course. Ask yourself:

Does the course organized to teach to measurable objectives (what will the student be able to do at the end?)–or, is it just organized by subject?

If it isn’t organized to objectives, it will be very difficult to create meaningful attendee activities to get and keep their attention.

Is the class ‘choreographed’ with several teaching methods (we call these ‘alternative delivery methods’) that provide relief from lecture and discussion (like task force, case study, role play, and activity plan)?

If the class is taught only with lecture and discussion, the instructor will find it difficult to involve the online attendees in learning.

Does the class consist of fact-heavy information, delivered from the lectern? If so, how can we re-purpose all this information so it doesn’t overwhelm the online course?

In the online course, some of the information must be ‘pruned out’. What are some alternative methods of providing that information?

What accountability does the student have in the class for learning?

If  no accountability, it’s more difficult to engage your audience.

Answering these questions will show us the adjustments that must be made in the class prior to creating the online version.

Want more information on instructor methods and course creation? See my online course Train the Trainer, which is accredited for 15 clock hours of Washington state continuing education credit. It fulfills the qualifications to teach clock hour courses in Washington state. 

More on Creating that Online Version of your Course and Involving your Attendees

In my next blog, we’ll investigate the easiest ways to involve your audience online. This is especially helpful to those who rely on lecture and discussion. 

Free Webinar June 11

Masterclass From Classroom to Online
Create focused online training that keeps your audience’s attention.

If you’re facing challenges of translating your ‘live’ classroom to online, join us for Masterclass: How to Go from Classroom to Online.

When: June 11 (Thursday)

Time: 10-11 am PDT

Click here to register.

You’ll learn how to create a great course structure, how to hold your audience’s attention, how to add variety to your course, and tips to present your classroom course for a successful online event. This webinar is created especially for those trainers presenting to real estate professionals–and valuable for anyone who wants to ‘translate’ their classroom course to a professional online experience.  I’ve added a worksheet for you so you can instantly ‘translate’ the webinar information to your own online course.

As a three-decade trainer of real estate trainers, I’ve learned the special presentation methods needed to keep and hold real estate professionals’ attention. I’ll show you how to include these in your online course structure.

Bonus for attending: A 2-page checklist to use to take your classroom course online with verve.)

Click here to register. (By the way, when you register, you’ll get a survey to let me know what you want me to address, so the webinar will be most valuable to you.)

Going online with your training is not just a matter of turning on the camera and talking. There are a different set of skills needed. Some of the things that work for us in the classroom do us harm online! In the previous blog, I discussed one mistake. Here are two more.

Mistake #2; Dawdling through the Time Frame

In your live classroom, you create rapport by spending time getting to know your audience. You have latitude in the amount of time you spend at the beginning of the class in introducing yourself, doing the warm-ups, and getting the expectations of the attendees. You probably have three hours to deliver your live class. Not so, in the online environment.

Solution: When you’re presenting online, you must move much faster through your preliminaries and get right to your topic.

Mistake #3: No Objectives for the Attendee

You know your subject. You could talk for hours! And, you’re a good talker. Your ‘live’ audiences appreciate your expertise and seem to be pretty attentive in a classroom setting—even if you ramble a bit. But, peoples’ attention spans shrink dramatically when the course goes online. Why? Because there doesn’t seem to be a reason for the event….no ‘what’s in it for me’? ‘What will I be able to do?’

Solution: Create at least one behavioral objective for your module (about 45 minutes). What do I mean by ‘behavioral objective’? What the attendee will be able to do as a result of attending your online presentation. Answering that question will give you structure and will suggest the exercises and discussions you’ll want to build into your online presentation.

There’s a simple, yet very effective formula for structuring any presentation–online or classroom. I’ll show you how to use that formula in my webinar coming up.

Your Online Course Can Be a Great Success

Avoiding these three mistakes will help you present in a much different venue from ‘live’. Admittedly, I’ve just scratched the surface of translating that ‘live’ classroom experience to a virtual environment. Online course creation, along with online presentation, is an art and a skill. Get started today to keep sharing your valued messages with your world.

A FREE Online Webinar For Online Course Presenters

Masterclass From Classroom to Online
How to Create Online Training for Real Estate Professionals

On May 14, at 10-11 AM PDT, I’ll be presenting a webinar for those who train. Masterclass: How to Take Your Course from Classroom to Online.

You’ll learn how to create a great course structure and present your classroom course for a successful online event. This webinar is created especially for those trainers presenting to real estate professionals.

As a three-decade trainer of real estate trainers, I’ve learned the special presentation methods needed to keep and hold real estate professionals’ attention. I’ll show you how to include these in your online course structure.

Click here to register

Engagement: Do you have a plan to drive engagement with your agents in this shifted market? Or, are you waiting for your company, your association, or …… to take over? Or, do you think you just don’t have to engage?

Sometimes it takes years! I don’t want you to lose your agents–or your business.

Concrete Methods to Re-Engage Your Agents

Every week, I’ll be giving you specific actions to take to re-vitalize the communication and the activity levels of the agents in your office. I’m not just drawing these out of a hat. This is what I have done for years to encourage, tell truth, and get agents into action in challenging markets. This will set you up for great profitability, retention, and a wonderful recruiting tool. How do I know? I’ve done it several times. It works.

First: Set Up Your Plan

Don’t wait for your company or some outside force to do this for you. All well and good, but you need to step right in and be the one who literally LEADS right now. That’s right–leads. Oh, boy, I just thought of what I don’t want to happen for you: DON’T just send them to some training guru site and hope all works out (that includes me!).

What Your Plan Should Look Like

First, when I say ‘meetings’, of course I mean via Zoom or Go to Webinar, or a similar program!

As a group (and groups):

  1. New agent training at least weekly with actionable items they are to complete–must be high accountability
  2. Advanced agent training at least weekly with guests sharing best practices for this market
  3. Mastermind groups of various experience and/or production levels
  4. Office meetings weekly with guests

In other words, your training calendar must

  1. Address the needs of the various levels of your agents
  2. Be consistent and well-thought out to serve your agents with actionable items–which you then can get permission to share
  3. Create a compelling reason why your agents should re-engage frequently

You DO have a training calendar, don’t you?

With individuals:

  1. Quartile your agents using any weighing variables you feel are important (4 points for production, 3 points for culture, etc.). See who you can help (probably not the bottom quartile, but you make that call. It’s your time and energy. You deserve a pay-off…..)
  2. Look at what you’ve been urging these agents to get done for the past 6 months (or more!): their website, their bios, their databases, their presentations, etc.
  3. Choose 5 action items you want to use with each agent, and let each agent prioritize and add to these actions, add dates–so it’s their plan; or, ask each agent to come up with 5 prioritized items
  4. Set up a schedule with each agent to review actions–I’ll be helping you apply great coaching techniques so they are motivated to keep going!

What I’ll be Providing You

Besides these overview and bigger picture items, I’m going to provide you specific action items (some with templates so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel) that you can drop in in several training/coaching areas

Who Will Survive and Thrive Through this Time

I know today, there are companies and/or managers who have a ‘hands off’ approach: It’s the agent’s business and that agent decides when, how, and how much to do–alone. When the market is going nuts, that works, because the market is driving the agents. But, when the market becomes challenging, the agents are looking for leadership, for guidance, for coaching. They get lost–more easily than they will admit. Those who provide positive, clear, supportive leadership now will come out with a much stronger profit picture, a synergistic team, and a recruiting tool.

Tell me: What are YOU doing to drive action in your office right now?

               Let’s Partner to Drive your Success!

Online Training – keyboard 3d render illustration with word on blue key

Why reinvent the wheel right now? Take advantage of my online training program, Up and Running in Real Estate, created from my smash hit, proven business start-up program Up and Running in 30 Days. 

Not just a distance learning program!

No one wants to sit in front of a computer especially now!) and learn neat stuff….

Effective online training has to have 3 things:

  1. An easy, engaging process to draw the attendee in and keep him/her interested
  2. Interaction with a real human being once inawhile
  3. Interaction and idea exchange with others in the course

Ive integrated these 3 critical factors in Up and Running in Real Estate.

  1. Engaging--I created humor, introspection, and awards to motivate attendees to keep going through the program
  2. Coaching: I will be personally group coaching agents in the program, and you have a unique opportunity to coach in the program, too.
  3. Interaction:  set up discussion groups so agents can interact and support each other 

An Easy Way to Integrate Coaching Your Agents 

Your support right now is critical. So, I waived the $99 fee for Coaches Corner (the coaching component of the program) for all who sign up prior to Sept. 1, 2020. To qualify, register at least 1 of your agents in the program. See more here.

Lets create success together!

Have you been doing all your training ‘live’? Yes, it’s preferable, but, you can switch to digital communication and training with confidence. Follow these tips.

Do you need to go ‘digital’? Right now, especially where I am, in Washington state, everyone is huddled in their homes because of the Coronavirus. But, life goes on. This is a great time, to adjust your communication and training strategy to reach out.

I’ve been doing webinars for years, and, I learned so much working with pros like Amy Chorew and the National Association of Realtors doing business planning webinars. I really worked on my technique, and was always rated in the top three presenters.

That’s what many digital attendees say! So, in the next few blogs, I’m going to give you tips on what I learned from the best, the mistakes I’ve made as I’ve learned, and the strategies that will help you create effective digital communications and trainings as we go forward.    

Should you ‘go digital’?  Yes, if you’re a

  • Trainer
  • Coach
  • Manager
  • Team leader
  • Salesperson

and in today’s world, we HAVE to communicate digitally–at least for awhile. The good news is that it forces us to get really good at this type of communication so we can reach more people more effectively. I hate it when I ask people what they think of webinars and they say that last Powerpoint presentation was

boring/dull/repetitive/ill-organized/no fun……..

But, if you’re skilled at presenting digitally, you can

  • Inform
  • Introduce
  • Sell
  • Increase your image

In this series, I’ll help you through 

  • the basics of digital communication, including webinars
  • The most common digital communication/webinar mistakes
  • Some technical aspects of webinars–software, etc.
  • How to create your video call or webinar

What can a webinar do? First, what it can’t do. Don’t expect it to  

Change people’s behavior (it’s not training. It’s education). Webinars are not the magic training bullet we’ve wished for. There are limited objectives you can accomplish by doing a webinar. But, I’ve discoered some methods to help ‘attendees’ internalize and apply what they’re learning (see my Train the Trainer sneak preview below).

Of course, the upside of a digital training/webinar is that

  • People don’t have to travel to get to the an event
  • It’s very cost-effective
  • It puts you in front of new audiences
  • You can make it evergreen (record it and share it)

Some Basic Choices to Make Before You Start

  1. Your vehicle

Which company will you use to deliver your webinar? There are over 100 companies today offering some type of screen sharing. They range from free to $100+ a month. The free versions companies tout are for a limited number of viewers (usually 5-10). After that, figure on paying for the services. Among the most popular services are Zoom, GoTo Meeting, WebEx, and BrightTalk. Whatever you choose, pick a service that will be easy for you! Getting caught in the technicalities while you are trying to be a sparkling presenter is death by webinar.

  1. What’s your message?

Boy, this one seems so easy, and yet, it’s where most of us go way off the rails. Why? We try to do too much in too little time with too little organization! (Just like we do in ‘live’ classes). But, it’s more fatal digitally, because it is more challenging to hold people’s attention. So, the next few tips are critical to the success  of your training.

Decide on your topic. Is it something that would lend itself to a webinar? To find out, study webinars you’ve attended. Do some seem too wishy-washy to have been worth your time? Are some so full of facts and figures you snooze off?

Decide on your objectives. In other words, start with the end in mind.  What do you see, hear, and feel the attendees doing at the end of your presentation?

To write your objectives, start with this sentence,

As a result of this webinar, attendees will____________________________. Examples of objectives for a business planning webinar could be:

  • Understand the flow of the strategic business planning process
  • Be able to differentiate between a vision and a mission statement
  • Be able to pinpoint 3 areas of concern about their business from the previous year

After I’ve written my objectives, I know the basic structure of my webinar. I can prioritize those objectives and start arranging my webinar in the right presentation order.

Your Topic: Overview or Detailed?

Is your topic an overview, or is it more detailed? Decide on the scope of your topic, and your objectives, before going further.

Common webinar mistake: Either being so global there is little information, or being so detailed you lose the audience in facts and figures.

Sound Familiar?

If you’ve taken my Instructor Development Workshop or my distance learning version, Train the Trainer, you’ve learned what objectives are and how to write and apply them in creating your training/presentation/digital class. 

After deciding on your desired delivery company, and drafting your topic and objectives, you’re ready for the next step. In the next blog, we’ll discuss best presentation methods–and common presentation mistakes.

See What a Digital Course Looks LIke and How it’s Organized

Necessity is the mother of invention!!!! Oh, boy, have I learned that! I decided to put my distance learning program in new course software. In doing so, I’ve found out how to help people internalize important concepts and apply them to great, concrete, immediately-useable results. Here’s a sneak preview of my Train the Trainer program. It fulfills the requirement for attendees to teach clock hour approved courses in Washington state, and is accredited for 15 clock hours.

Train the Trainer Sneak Preview

In later posts, I’ll share some strategies I’ve found work really well in creating online presentations and courses that involve, inform, and entertain.

Mar
10

What’s Wrong with This Training?

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Here’s a ‘story problem’ (case study) from my train the trainer programs. See how you do….

What’s wrong with this training?

Most of us managers train……along with the other 100 things we have to do each day. Too often, we tend to ‘grab and go’……our training is not too well thought out–with good reason!

In my Instructor Development Workshop (live) and my online distance learning version of the course, Train the Trainer, I show attendees how to deliver their courses without droning through them.

case study

In case study, we create a situation that reflects real life. This case study can be rather long and complex. We use it to help students grapple with the ‘gray areas’ –just like we have to do in real life. 

What is a ‘case study’?

First, it isn’t what the attorneys tell us. It’s not a case that you, the instructor, talk through and give the answers. Instead, it’s a written situation that asks the students to come to several conclusions.

When is the case study used? It’s used toward the end of your course or module. 

What is the case study for?  To test the students’ judgment, understanding, and application of what you’ve taught.  

Who can (and should) use the delivery method (teaching method) of case study? Anyone who wants to ‘test’ students’ understanding, judgment, and ability to draw conclusions from the course. It’s great for mortgage lenders, title and escrow, attorneys, and home inspectors to use. in my classes, I ask students to create an appropraite case study for their course. 

What does a case study accomplish? It throws the accountability to the student. It lets the students interact, to team build, and to learn from each other. It shows you, the instructor, how well you’ve taught and what you need to review.

Here’s that case study for you. Take a look at the case study I use in my train the trainer courses to see how well students have internalized the concepts taught in my classes. I assign the case study at the end of one class, and we debrief in small groups and then generalize in the large group.  (And it  helps attendees see an example of a case study and how it is used–so they can create their own case studies easily and quickly).

How did you do? Could you name 10 things ‘Sally’ did wrong? 

Grab Great Teaching Methods

Get some new training strategies and step your training up to the next level. See my online program, Train the Trainer, in new course software. It’s fun to do and you learn great methods (plus I give you 8 ready-to-use teaching strategies).  

Take a Sneak Preview here.

Face it! Most office meetings are not well attended. In fact, they may be thought of as boring to the office’s agents! Here’s a method to put zip in that meeting and ‘up’ your attendance!

Here’s one easy way to add pizzazz to your next office meeting.

As owners and managers, you’re a meeting planner when it comes to your sales meetings. Interestingly, you have dozens of experts right in your midst that you can spotlight to bring insights and excitement to your next event. Yes, those are the great agents and leaders you work with. So, how can you use that expertise right? Hold a successful panel discussion.

But, too many panel discussions go off the tracks because of these five fatal mistakes. I’ve seen these mistakes and have developed a system and the experience as a facilitator to assure that your panel discussion goes spectacularly well.

(Note: At the end of this blog, be sure to grab my one-page panel discussion rules of the road, too. Use these to prepare your participants and create an event they’ll rave about).

The Five Fatal Mistakes–And How to avoid Them

  1. Too few or too many panelists

The Rule: No fewer than 3; no more than 6. Why? If someone doesn’t show up and you have scheduled only 3 people,   you won’t have a panel! And, if you have more than 5-6 people, you won’t have time to drill down with any of them.

  1. Too general a topic

Choose a topic that’s specific enough that you encourage real action steps and advice that the audience can take. Example: Not ‘How to sell Real Estate’ but “Best Marketing Ideas from the Experts’.

  1. Not getting the written bios/introductions from the panelists prior to the discussion

One of the facilitator’s jobs is to concisely introduce each panelist. Facilitators need a written introduction to do that properly. Don’t try to wing it! If you do, you may inadvertently make mistakes and a panelist may correct them in front of everyone!

  1. Not providing enough time for each panelist to talk.

You want a combination of panelist ‘lecturette’ (about 5-10 minutes each) and Q and A between the facilitator and panelists and the audience.

Note: The panel should last about one hour.

  1. Facilitator talks too much!

It’s not the facilitator’s show! It should shine a spotlight on the panelists.  Facilitators should prepare 5-10 questions in advance and share those questions with the panelists, so they know what to expect. You can also ask panelists what they want to be asked.

Avoiding these 5 fatal mistakes will assure you create an exceptional panel discussion, and reap accolades for your event.

Click here to grab my one-page panel discussion guide.

How can Carla help you with your presenters and instructors?  She applies the principles she learned as a performing musician to the stage to help presenters and trainers create great presentations, get enthusiastic audience participation, and reduce presentation  anxiety. See more at www.carlacross.com or contact her at carla@carlacross.com

Have you asked someone to present at your meeting, and they droned on…and on…and your attendees lost interest? Here’s a method with my planner to assure your presenters stay on point.

Do you arrange and/or lead sales meetings? If you do, you’ve probably seen this happen: 

Your presenter rambles into the presentation, wanders around in a vast wasteland of information during the presentation, and then kind of dribbles out of the presentation–no call to action, no close. After that happens a couple of times, your agents don’t want to hear from any more guests or affiliates! 

Don’t Assume the Presenter Knows How to Structure his/her Presentation! 

I’ve led or attended hundreds of real estate sales meetings. Usually, I find the guest presenter (an affiliate or vendor) is anxious to get up in front of our wonderful team and present.

He/she doesn’t know what interests or challenges the audience. He/she doesn’t know how to begin the presentation to get the audience’s attention, how to build a motivating story, and how to create a call to action.

This Presentation Planner Will Help Presenters Organize

After an especially painful group of presentations (5 all in one meeting!), I decided to create a presentation planner for affiliates/guests to use to prepare their presentations. It is based on the concepts and skills I teach in my Instructor Development Workshops and my distance learning version, Train the Trainer. 

Note: I just returned from giving my presentation Knock Their Socks Off: Tips to Make Your Best Presentation Ever, to a national home warranty company. I was so impressed because they wanted to learn the skill of crafting persuasive presentations AND they had set aside time to practice the skill and de-brief. Great skill building and team building session. 

Three Big Questions to Ask your Would-Be Presenters

  1. What’s the challenge agents (or your audience) are facing that your product/service will solve?
  2. Why should the agents (or your audience) listen to your presentation?
  3. What outcomes will agents (or your audience) have as a result from taking the actions you suggest?

Screen Your Presenters BEFORE You Let Them in Front of your Audience!

Here are three things you’ll want to do to screen would-be presenters:

  1. Have them complete the presentation planner here
  2. Ask for a bio from them with testimonials of those who have used their service or product
  3. If the presenter is going to do a course for you, get the course outline (and not just a PowerPoint presentation!) prior to engaging the presenter, along with at least 10 testimonials of those who have attended his/her session (I learned this the hard way after letting an affiliate teach a ‘class’ to my agents and found the course had no outline and the instructor had no real idea of what he was presenting…..)

Following these guidelines and using my presentation planner will assure your sales meetings are a ‘hit’ and your audience walks away with exceptional value.

Grab your Presentation Planner here.