Have you ever been to a seminar or session at an exhibition or conference that was promoted as an educational opportunity but turned out to be an obvious sales pitch, with the seller enjoying a captive market from the stage?

If you have you will not be surprised to hear that some speakers (sellers) pay for their slots at some events, and at others are persuaded by the exhibition or conference organiser to speak for free and the chance to sell to the audience, hence the number of sales pitches that have to be endured.

Or do they? Some delegates have been known to walk out and complain to the organiser, who then may or may not use the speaker or company again, depending on the financial arrangement. Some exhibition organisers have been known to point out to complainants that the seminars are free so what are they moaning about, which misses the point that the biggest cost of attending is the cost of the delegate’s time, along with the increasing costs of travel, especially in peak time.

One sure way however, of positively stopping the nonsense is to publicly name and shame the speakers, their companies and the exhibition or conference organisers complicit in the time and money-wasting deception. For this purpose our Event Organisers Update, Charity Matters and Marketing Matters emailed newsletters are today launching an on-going survey of exhibition seminars and conference sessions and are asking readers to let us know, for publication, the names of speakers, their companies, and the events that delivered a sales pitch in place of an education.

We are asking respondents to identify themselves, not for publication, but to stop the speaker’s, companies and organiser’s competitors using the survey to attack, a very common occurrence on Tripadvisor. Equally, unlike Tripadvisor we will need verification that the responder actually attended the seminar or session complained of.

The incidence of sales pitches is one of the most common complaints aimed at events and sensible organisers will take pains to carefully brief their speakers and avoid the problem, and welcome the exposure of others that don’t. So if, anytime in 2013, you have the negative experience described above, complete the survey form at the end of the news section, and let’s get standards raised, for everyone’s benefit.

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