Set Your Audience Expectations – and Then Follow Through

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

Two of my readers shared examples this week of what goes wrong when a speaker or trainer doesn’t set the right expectations for their talk or program:

Example 1:
My daughter wants to do a study abroad program, and she saw a meeting announcement at her college on study abroad programs. The meeting announcement instructed people to review the website and come with questions, so that’s what she did. However, at the meeting, all the presenters did was to review what is on the website.  My daughter was terribly bored and felt it was a waste of time. She had come with specific questions, and she had to hold them until the very end.

Example 2:
Last week I attended a corporate training event. As prework, we were asked to prepare two slides with our goals and objectives for the year.  I spent at least an hour preparing the slides and submitted them to the trainer.  But the slides were never used during the training.   Instead, during the training, he asked us to work in small groups to brainstorm goals and objectives on sticky notes and then post them on the wall. So, the time I spent preparing the slides was wasted and I felt very frustrated.

Don’t let this happen to you.  Don’t frustrate and disappoint your audience by having them prepare material or questions you have no intention of using. 

The next time you have to give a talk, run a meeting or lead a training program, be clear about your expectations – and then follow through as promised.  You will end up with a happier audience. 

Thanks to my readers for sharing these examples.  What examples do you have of speakers or trainers not following through on expectations?
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