Seminar Heckler

It was the same guy, over and over.

We should have expected it when he announced during introductions that he didn’t want to be at the seminar but was attending as a favor to his radio rep. He all but told us that he fully intended to make someone pay for his inconvenience. As the 2 days unfolded, he showed us his cards.

His preference is to be a heavy-handed marketer…one of those in-your-face type of advertisers. As I encouraged people to put their web visitors in control of playing video and audio, he argued with me that he believes it’s more “engaging” to have audio and video set to auto-play when a visitor arrives.

As Tom Wanek illustrated one of his Currencies that Buy Credibility with a case study on Yvon Chouinard and Patagonia, Mr. Heckler argued that only someone who is “already rich” could possibly have the guts to draw a line in the sand and stand up for a principle.

A good debate can be stimulating. I’m all for arguing the fine points, or even the not-so-fine points over a glass of red or a couple of beers.

Why am I even bringing this up?

Because it illustrates the point of being clear on the defining characteristics of your business. This guy was clearly at the wrong type of seminar for his tastes. In fact, his tastes are about 15 years out of date for the times.

Today, it is more important to say something powerful in your ads instead of saying something powerfully. You do see the difference don’t you? A powerful message reflects key benefits of your product or service, your policies and philosophies. Delivering a message powerfully, just means using some annoying, intrusive means of delivering it in the hope that people will notice.

5 thoughts on “Seminar Heckler

  1. Dave Young

    Phil, it’s always dicey. In this case, it was a small crowd. My experience has always been that the rest of the room is on the side of the speaker. If appropriate, I’ll ask “What do the rest of you think?” and let them shut him up. If there’s time for a discussion, we’ll have it then and there. If not, I’ll say that he’s going to have to wait and if there is time at the end, we can talk about it.

    Most of the time, these guys are just trying to make your presentation about themselves. They are usually coming at you from some weird tangent.

    I was once ambushed by a guy in Australia who waited until I was finished and then wanted everyone to know that what I’d just talked about was a load of Yankee crap. He left in a huff and the rest of the audience was aghast and apologizing for his behavior.

    That’s just a part of the live speaker world. You work without a net!

  2. Phil Wrzesinski

    At a recent talk I gave, the sponsor of my event said, “I take issue with that last point.” Being that she sponsored the talk I felt compelled to let her speak. As it turns out, by the time she was done she had made my point for me. But we aren’t always that lucky. Thanks for the input.

  3. Caroline G. Keyser

    What a great post! I stumbled onto your blog, and I completely agree with you about saying something powerfully. I’m a freelance corporate/PR writer, and that’s basically my pitch to potential clients–say it powerfully instead of hitting people over the head with it.

    Also, I really like your writing style. Plain, simple English with well-explained points, yet still engaging and interesting. Most blogs aren’t as well written.

  4. Kyle Smith

    I think most types of business people have meet at least one or two types of people during his or her career. I also agree with you point “A powerful message reflects key benefits of your product or service, your policies and philosophies” Another great post Dave.


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