I have a confession to make. I will often buy a ticket to a conference or an event because I am more fascinated by the how and what a speaker or presenter will do, rather than how I feel about what they are saying, and I have been known to drive for hours each way to go to a dinner in a room full of people I don’t know simply because I am curious about the keynote or headline speaker.

So its not often I am completely jolted by what some may think is an ordinary speaker, or even, an offensive speaker…because the introverted analytical side of me that does exist is in play and I am more interested in what I am learning from what the person in front of me is doing or not doing.

Until recently. When in the midst of a room full of professional speakers who had gathered from around the world, I was thrown head-first into an NLP, hard core, sales pitch very thinly disguised as a plenary session.

As the discomfort levels around me grew, I could not believe what I was seeing, and more than that, how many people – including many I know and respect – actually left their seats and did their run to the back of the room to take up the special offer.

And ALL I could think of was every reason why you should run the opposite direction. So as a public service announcement I thought I would share with you the signs that you should run from the speaker at the front of the room – and not to them!

1. The phrase “Can I hear a YES on that”

2. The instruction to “raise your hands if you agree with me”

3. When 1 and 2 are repeated often in the first 7 minutes

4. When the presenter doesn’t feel the love enough and tells the room to raise their hands

5. The words our new program will tell you x, when all you get is the headline for x unless you pay

6. When video testimonials are run, and run often, and with the presenter in every one of them

7. When there is an amazing deal for the first 20 people who run to the back of the room NOW

What has surprised me most since getting quite vocal about this is the amount of horror experiences that people have been willing to share with me.

Where big names in the speaker training space run free and half day workshops, and deploy emotive, scarcity driven tactics to peel credit cards from the people in front of them.

Where those same people have described – on one occasion in Australia – doors actually being locked after the lunch break and virtual minders placed near them.

Where people have actually paid to attend a one-day educational event, have been pitched to all day, and have no tangible things to take away with them to implement.

So my advice? Do go to the free events, but for the love of god know when to run and when to leave your credit cards at home.