I took a declining event staged by IOSH, the health and safety professional body, and turned it into its most popular and successful specialist training session.
Originally known as the ‘Course provider forum’, this update event for IOSH’s trainer network was made up of a series of staff presentations – very much a ‘them and us’, PowerPoint-based format. I could see that it had the potential to be a much more vibrant event, with trainers getting fresh inspiration, new insights and the chance to share experiences – the ‘Training roadshow’.
• New themes – every roadshow was built around a theme, responding to and reflecting the challenges trainers were facing, from developing market share to deploying simple promotional tactics
• A radical new format – an interactive, upbeat programme with a more informal feel saw trainers go from passive audience members to lively participants, involved and engaged with all the content
• Guest speakers – matched to each theme, motivational speakers or discipline experts brought a new dimension, always with an inspirational aspect
• A ‘less theory, more practice’ approach – the emphasis was on good practice takeaways and ready-to-use strategies
• Networking – the roadshow had ‘learn and share’ opportunities at its heart, encouraging and enabling training professionals to exchange experiences and build their contact book
• High impact promotion – a move from dry, functional event promotion to curveball, quirky campaigns
First and foremost, the roadshow became a firm fixture – and highlight – on the training calendar. It quickly developed a reputation for offering a unique combination of the inspirational and practical. The event was a great way to gain sector insight and market intelligence, the perfect vehicle for understanding customers’ drivers, objectives and challenges. The IOSH team was able to convert these insights into profitable solutions. And at each roadshow, I drew on my own marketing experience to present to hundreds of trainers on how to use clever branding and creative marketing techniques in their own business.