Do You Have to Bribe Your Audience to Listen to You? | Media Training

Do You Have to Bribe Your Audience to Listen to You? | Media Training

I attended a “free” dinner presentation from a local asset management company here in Long Island the other evening. The company had to “bribe” a room full of people to come by promising and delivering a steak dinner at a fancy restaurant. Then, after the pitch, they tried to “bribe” everyone to make an appointment for a more detailed sales pitch by giving out large chocolate bars to those who made appointments.

Does this work?

Apparently so; the asset management company manages $2 billion. And with a typical management fee of 1%, that means fees of $20 million–not bad when split among just a dozen partners.

So something is working well.

But the presentations themselves were awful. The two speakers talked a lot about “I” and “Me” and never once mentioned how they helped any one specific client in real, tangible terms. Both gave boring, tedious, data-dumping presentations that were entirely unmemorable.

And yet both presenters were successful. Sometimes it pays to have an audience with low expectations and be in an industry where the norm is terrible presentations.

But the question for me in these situations is “why spend tends of thousands of dollars a year on advertising to get people in a room to hear a speech and tens of thousands of dollars on food and then spend zero dollars making sure the presentation is actually good?”

TJ Walker is a public speaking and media training coach. You can reach him at or at 212.764.4955.


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