Speaker, Trainer, Troubadour, Author

Kim Ratz

Helping people create more harmony
in their own life, and in
their relationships with others ...

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September 2013, from Kim Ratz, Speaker-Trainer-Troubadour

Nothing fancy - just a fast, free read to inspire hope,
improve skills to cope, and induce some fun in your day!

Thoughts to Help You
Live & WorkWise:

Improving Value & ROI at
Conferences & Training Events

When you organize a training event you not only want a program that people feel was worth their time -- you also want to ensure attendees receive VALUE, and your budget gets a good ROI (Return on Investment). Over the years I've shared these ideas spontaneously and individually with clients as we communicate, and many have told me how much one or more of them were helpful. So now I've created this article to share with my clients, and now you, to help both the speaker and the seeker both be clear on the outcomes and value the speaker needs to achieve, and help improve the ROI:

As You Search for a Speaker

  • "Fit and Function Before Fee"
    When you call a potential speaker and know they are available on your date, instead of next asking about the fee -- take a few minutes to explain your group, the type of event, and needs, goals and desired outcomes that need to be addressed. Your potential speaker needs to know who will be in the room, the issues and opportunities they face, and the value and outcomes you seek; you need to expect your speaker to be able to customize their message to your group so it's a good "fit" (high probability to achieve desired outcomes and deliver value). Then let the speaker give you an idea of what they could do to help you achieve those outcomes. If the fit is good you're much more likely to know it, and then it make sense to move to the negotiation phase (which can be even more uncomfortable for some association leaders and volunteers who don't normally hire speakers) about things like the fee, travel, and other considerations. Don't start talking about money until you know you've found the speaker and program you want to bring to your event. And if the fit is not good, aren't you glad you know that BEFORE you discuss the fee and possibly hire the speaker, instead of finding out afterwards when it's too late?


  • Ask your speaker to help you promote the event.
    Your speaker is the best person to explain to people what the WIIFMs are (What's In It For Me?) of this program are and to attend. I've helped my clients do this in several ways: At a minimum, speaker provides you with information that explains skills and other info that will be conveyed, gives examples of how it will help people in their daily work, and other "take-aways" they can expect ... I've also written articles to give people samples of what will be covered, as well as my style, and tease or otherwise create some intrigue about what will happen at the program ... I've even recorded a 60 second message that the client then sent to everyone they hoped would attend, explaining what we'd cover and some fun things that would happen, and then ended with a 10 second teaser from a song I was writing about the group ... Video clips can be done too to promote your event and feature speakers or activities.

  • Keep your speaker in the loop as you plan & promote.
    It helps to see how you promote the event and what you send out to registrants, and to customize the presentation so it resonates with your attendees and is useful! Involve your speakers in discussions for other ideas to help your event succeed. We work with lots of groups and see a variety of activities, novel approaches and "best practices," and often in the course of discussions I'll share something as an example or thought that my clients never thought of, and they really appreciate it!

At the Event

  • Expect your speaker to encourage each attendee to identify a continuous improvement goal.
    Even though you know what the desired outcomes are and your speaker did the best they could to provide that value, it's all just "potential" value unless your attendees ACT to improve themselves in some significant way. I always encourage attendees to identify this personal goal at the end of the presentation, and in addition -- some clients have also used the technique of inviting everyone to write out their goal and seal it in an envelope addressed to themselves, collect and hold them for one month, and then send them back (unopened) as a 30-day reminder and way to reinforce the expectation of continuous improvement.

  • Ask people to share their feedback within 48 hours of the event.
    Ask them to do it before they leave, or within the next 2 days while it's still fresh in their mind. Ask what helped most, and least, if they have questions, and suggestions for the future, etc. Share this feedback with your speaker so they also can review this important information.


If the event was a conference and attendees are from many groups and don't work together frequently, or when only some people from your team get to attend an event:

  • Share an article that summarizes the main points of the program.
    Ask the speaker to write this, and then you can also add any specific decision, or other outcome you hope will occur as a result of the program. Share key take-aways you'd like everyone to know about, and pose some specific questions to help them think about how to use the information.

If the event was an "in-house" program and attendees work together and interact regularly:

  • Utilize the shared vocabulary people have to talk about next steps.
    Two or three days after the event, send out a brief e-mail to reinforce why the training was held, what you hope they got out of it, and what you heard they got out of it from their feedback. Use key words and phrases from the program to remind people what you hope they "took-away" and reinforce the expectation that people are looking for opportunities to apply the content. Your speaker can coach you on which key words and phrases to use, and how to use them.

  • Look for opportunities to talk with individuals about their plans for continuous improvement.
    In the week or so after the program, this is a key time to communicate with certain people you already know need to work on these things. Discuss their goals, questions or needs they might have, and let them know you want them to succeed. This is your opportunity to reinforce the expectation that everyone including them is looking for a way(s) they can and will improve, give positive feedback to reinforce their individual effort or acknowledge an improvement, and discuss next steps.

  • Ask for examples of peoples' efforts to use the information.
    In subsequent communications and meetings, ask for examples, recognize efforts, celebrate successes, and discuss challenges remaining; keep attention focused on the expectation of systematic and continuous improvements. Examples could include: People are not getting bogged down in disagreements as often as before, or people are finding ways to get along better with someone whose style is different than theirs, or there are examples of people saying they feel more trust towards others, or more hope in dealing with a challenge. The cynics on the team need to see and hear that if people use these skills and strategies they work!

  • Act on any opportunity to reinforce the expectations and goals.
    When things go well celebrate those successes large and small, to show people it's working, and keep morale, cohesion and a desire for continuous improvement strong for the next challenge you need to take on.

I Celebrate Our Labors!

"Choose a job you love and you never work a day in your life." This piece of wisdom is credited to many so I'm unclear of the original source, yet I know it's true, and I hope you do too! So with the recent Labor Day holiday and the start of another new school year I want to send a couple of "Shout-outs!":

  • To all who labor, and especially to those who choose to serve the public and make a difference for others -- May you be able to do what you love and love what you do, and know you are appreciated for the positive difference you make!

  • A special shout-out to all of you who work in schools in particular, and youth and family programs in general, who help ensure that children can develop the attitudes and aptitudes they need to live a healthy, happy life; You SO have my appreciation and respect for choosing to do this kind of work, and make this very important difference to your students and learners!

  • My thanks to all my clients and colleagues I've enjoyed working working with as I begin my 21st year, grateful for the kind of work I get to do, which often involves repeat business so I can enjoy working with a group more than once ... Thanks for your support - I look forward to seeing many of you again in the years ahead!

Quotes related to Training for the days ahead ...

"The essence of training is to allow error without consequence." - Orson Card

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle

"If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." - Abraham Maslov

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." - John Harvey

"The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one." - Malcolm Forbes

"The aim of education is the knowledge not of facts but of values." - William Inge

"On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain. Either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow." - Friedrich Nietzsche

"Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance." - Will Durant

"Find your passion, learn how to add value to it, and commit to a lifetime of learning." - Ray Kurzwell

"Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning." - Benjamin Frankiln

"It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated." - Alec Bourne

"No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it." - Peter Drucker

"The difference between school and life? In School, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. in life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson." - Tom Bodett

"Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't." - Pete Seeger

"In the book life, the answers aren't in the back." - Charlie Brown

"Intelligence is knowing what to do when you don't know what to do." - Art Costa

"High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation." - Charles Kettering

"The road to success is lined with many tempting parking spaces." - unknown

"Before you are a leader, success is all about ggrowing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others." - Jack Welch

"The wisest mind has something yet to learn." - unknown

I specialize in helping people create more harmony in their own life, and in their relationships with others. It's about Choices and Congruence - by aligning your Attitudes, Aptitudes and Actions - so that at day's end you feel content, not regret. This content is applied to outcomes including: Attitudes & Discpline for Personal Excellence, Communication and Relationship skills, Leadership, Teamwork and Customer Service. I do this through keynotes and workshops that inspire hope, help people improve skills to cope with change, challenge and conflict, and original music, stories and humor to induce some fun along the way!

If you need a presenter who shares content, energy and inspiration,
call me right away so we can discuss how one of these programs could help your group!

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charicature of Kim playing guitarkimratz@aol.com

(Central TZ)

3665 Woody Lane,
Minnetonka, MN 55305

Since 2006 Kim has been proud to sponsor:

Kim is proud to sponsor Make a Difference to Children
July is National
Make a Difference
to Children Month

Click HERE for more info ...

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