“Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door,” is an inaccurate phrase attributed accurately to Ralph Waldo Emerson, regarding the power of innovation.
I thought of this recently after my breakout session seminar at an industry professional development conference and I realized that the phrase is only partially true.
A few minutes before I was to begin my session seminar all the chairs in my room were full with audience members anxiously awaiting my talk.
I was excited to have a full house for my presentation.
Then, as I was about to start, about two dozen more people began streaming into my room, with chairs in their hands.
I went to the back of the room to provide the new audience members with a handout and was greeted by a man who said, “people are coming in to my room grabbing chairs and leaving. I had to follow them to see what’s going on over here!”
As this had never happened to me before, I didn’t know how to respond so I just apologized, smiled back and walk to the front of the room to begin my presentation.
This is the fourth consecutive conference this month that my breakout session garnered the highest attendance at a professional development conference.
After getting back to my room I took a look at the conference agenda and the breakout session listings. Here are the options attendees had to choose from:
- Becoming Your Best
- Blending Project Management with Business Management
- Using Identity Intelligence
- An Agile Journey – Independent Health Project Team
- The Nicaragua Eye Care Mission Project
- The 7 Deadliest Communication Sins of Project Managers
I knew in the morning I was going to get good attendance at my session because dozens of people came up to me at my booth and said something to the effect of “I’m definitely coming to your session, this sounds so interesting, can you give me a sample of one of the communication sins?”
And, of course I did.
I believe the thing that attracts an enthusiastic audience to my sessions at these conferences is the language I use in the title. It gets people’s attention and taps into their curiosity.
It also offers specificity about what they can expect to learn regarding a topic important to them.
The competing seminar subjects, although very worthwhile and appropriate for the conference audience, do not have titles that do what I suggest; they just put a label on the subject matter.
This is one part of what branding is about. Just the first part. The part that does get people to beat a path to your door to try your better mousetrap.
The second part is delivering on that promise, which from the feedback from participants in my four most recent programs I’ve been able to do.
But, it starts with the language.
How are you articulating your brand so people get both excited about the promise it can deliver and curious about how it does it?
And thirdly, how are you allowing people to sample your brand to build the trust that your brand does what it promises?
Because if you can’t do that, it doesn’t matter how great a mousetrap you have because no one is going to buy, because they won’t know, like or trust it.
Skip Weisman, The Leadership & Workplace Communication Expert, works with small business owners to help them lead their employees from drama & defensiveness to ownership & initiative. During a 20-year career in professional baseball management, Skip served as CEO for five different franchises. That experience gave Skip tremendous insight and skill for build high-performing teams in the workplace. Skip’s new small business coaching program, based on leadership during the American Revolution, is called Revolutionary Leadership.