preload
Nov 18

PresentationUser Group Leaders often wonder how to approach organisations to find potential presenters for their meetings.

When I’ve written to individuals or organisations to present at User Groups that I have been involved with in the past I’ve always included the same basic details;

  • How I found about the product or organisation
  • What I want them to do for our group
  • A brief blurb about the group I represent
  • How they can find more information about the group
  • When we have presentation slots available
  • Where we hold our meetings
  • Sample timings for the meeting
  • The Equipment our group provides as standard, and any optional equipment we can provide
  • Suggest alternative ideas for presenting their product
  • and finally, how to contact me directly

This method has allowed me to secure presenters from variety of corporations, including Apple, Adobe and Microsoft.

Below is an example of an Introduction Email I’d use to send to potential presenters for a fictional User Group called auAUG.

Example Introduction Email

Dear Fred,

I just read the review about your Apple Pie Maker in the AppleUsers Spotlight Magazine and so now I am writing to you on behalf of auAUG, to see if you would be interested in presenting Apple Pie Maker, or any of your other products, to auAUG.

— About the Australian Apple User Group —
The Australian Apple User Group, or auAUG for short, is Australia’s Premier Apple User Group. As the name suggests, our group focusses on all of Apple Inc’s products, including but not limited to the Mac, iPad, iPod and iPhone, but we are also interested in all aspects of computing.

At the auAUG meetings, we have facilities that cater for up 100 attendees and depending on the topics presented, we average between 30-50 attendees each meeting.

More information about auAUG can be found on our website;

— Meeting Dates & Presentation Vacancies —
The auAUG normally holds meeting on the Third Tuesday of each month (except December)
We currently have vacancies for presenters on the following dates
Aug 23: 2 Sessions
Sep 24: 2 Sessions
Oct 21: 1 Session (Note this is the SECOND Tuesday of the month)
Nov 26: 1 Session

— Sample Timings of auAUG meetings —
The following is an approximate indication of the timing we try to adhere to… we are flexible on finishing times for the sessions, particularly if a single presenter is conducting both sessions, but we like to start as close to commencement times as possible.

7:00pm: Building Opens/Setup
7:20pm: Meeting Hall Opens
7:30pm: First Presentation
8:30pm: Tea Break & Setup for 2nd Presentation
9:00pm: Second Presentation
10:00pm: Packup
10:15pm: Building Closes

— Location —
The Australian Meeting Place
Cnr George & King Streets
Sydney, NSW
An online map can be viewed at;
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=apple+store+sydney&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=37.956457,74.619141&ie=UTF8&hq=apple+store&hnear=Sydney+New+South+Wales,+Australia&ll=-33.86842,151.204147&spn=0.009728,0.018218&z=16&iwloc=A

— Equipment Supplied —
We provide the following equipment for use by presenters at the auAUG meetings;
– Video Projector (supporting resolutions of up to 1024×768 and VGA inputs)
– Wall Mounted Projection Screen
– Amplified Speakers for use with computer systems
– Amplified PA system with cordless lapel mic and cordless handheld mic
– ADSL Internet connection – connection via either WiFi or ethernet

With 24 hours notice, we can optionally supply the following equipment as well;
– Lectern with built-in microphone (Most of our presenters just use a table and the lapel mic)
– MacBook laptop with 2GB RAM running the latest version of Mac OS X 10.6.x Snow Leopard (Although, we recommend that presenters provide their own computer where ever possible). The latest versions of Apple’s iWork ’09 (includes Keynote which also opens PowerPoint presentations) and iLife ’11 are installed. An Apple Remote is also included.

BTW: If you don’t have staff available to present, a couple of different options have been utilised by other vendors;
– Have a local reseller conduct the presentation on your behalf;
– Provide appropriate material (review unit, marketing material etc) to us and we’ll have one of our own internal presenters conduct a presentation.

If you wish to present at an auAUG meeting, or have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact me via email ([email protected]) or telephone me on (02) 9988 7766.

I look forward to hearing from you soon, even if you are not in a position to assist us at this stage.

Jo Alexson


Jo Alexson ([email protected])
Presentations Co-ordinator, auAUG

Now here are some details on why I include certain sections in my initial email contact to organisations I’d like to present to my User Group.

Introduction

When writing to an organisation, particularly for the first time, I let them know how I found out about their product or company. This may have been in a print magazine, through another User Group’s newsletter or mailing list, a Google search for that particular product or something totally different. It helps them know how you found out about them and what interested you in their product.

I make it very clear what I want from them early in the email – which is to basically to present a particular product to our group.

About Our Group

I try to explain, in a couple of short sentences, what our group does. I don’t get bogged down in long descriptions about everything the group does — that’s what your website should be for!

Available Dates

I try and list a couple of dates that they can present to us… don’t limit yourself to just one date — they may not be able to make your next meeting, but could be available for the one after. Let them choose a date that suit them!

Also, I’ve never been afraid to have the same dates out there with two or three potential presenters… The FIRST one to responds GETS their first choice of date… any others are then offered alternatives dates… yes, it can be a fine line with over booking dates, but it can also work in your favour if you play the cards right.

I highlight ANY changes of the standard meeting dates – many groups move meetings around Public Holidays or when their venue is booked for another events.

Meeting Location

This should be an obvious thing to include, but you’d be amazed at how many groups don’t include this information when contacting presentations… I can only guess that they ‘assume’ that the presenter can grab it off the group’s website! But it is better to include it in your initial email so all the information is in one place for them and they can also decide if it is practical to get to your venue.

Also, it is advisable to include a Google Map link so they can easily look the location up themselves and work out the best way of their getting to your venue from where they are based.

Typical Meeting

I’ve always included a typical schedule of the meeting to give a presenter an idea of how you operate. Every group is different… some have a single presentation per meeting, some have two or more, others may have a brief ‘General Welcome’ followed by a quick Q&A and then the Main Presentations. Others may switch the Q&A and Presentation around.

By letting them know how your group works in advance, they can plan their own presentation accordingly.

Equipment Supplied

By letting the presenter know what YOU can provide can help them determine what, if anything, they need to bring along themselves.

Although most groups have a projector (or at least access to one), not all do… so the presenter may have their own and wish to bring it along. If your group does have a projector, let the presenter know the maximum resolution it supports – I’ve seen too many presentations fail because the projector supplied didn’t meet the requirements for the application in use – Many of Apple’s Pro Apps need a minimum resolution of 1280×800 these days and most projectors only do a maximum of 1024×768.

Also, if you have access to a PA system, even a portable let them know. The same with an internet connection.

If your group has a laptop or another machine that a guest presenter can borrow, let them know it can be arranged… but offer it as an alternative – they are far better using a machine they are familiar with (yes, even if it is a PC running PowerPoint)

Alternatives

I list a couple of alternatives that corporations may consider if they can’t get a suitable presenter to your group. The main one is have them supply demo units and get one of your own members to give a presentation on the product. This option has worked successfully for me in the past.

and finally, how to contact me directly

Again, this is obvious, but many people still don’t include this.
Offer a telephone number they contact you on… if there are limitations on when you can be contacted, then let them know that.

Also, reconfirm your email address within the body of the email… I’ve found that I’ve often had to contact a generic ‘sales@’ or ‘media@’ address and my email has been forwarded to three or four different people within a company before getting to most appropriate person, and often the original headers, which included my email address have been lost in the forwards.

Further Reading…

This article is part of a series… the rest of the series can be found at;

Part 1: Approaching Potential Presenters [This article]
Part 2: Confirming Presenters
Part 3: Working with Presenters on the Night
Part 4: Working with Presenters After the Event
Part 5: Finding Guest Presenters

5 Responses to “Approaching Potential Presenters”

  1. Confirming Presenters | AppleUsers.org Says:

    […] we posted suggestions for Approaching Potential Presenters, now we provide some suggestions for confirming […]

  2. Working with Presenters “On the Night” | AppleUsers.org Says:

    […] This is our third instalment of series on dealing with Presenters. The first article covered “Approaching Potential Presenters” and the second one dealt with “Confirming Presenters“. This article will provide […]

  3. Working with Presenters After the Event | AppleUsers.org Says:

    […] is our fourth instalment of series on Dealing with Presenters. The first article covered “Approaching Potential Presenters“, the second one dealt with “Confirming Presenters” and the third talked about […]

  4. Don’t Carry the Burden Alone! | AppleUsers.org Says:

    […] our series “Working with Presenters” of articles for tips on how best to go about initially approaching potential presenters, […]

  5. Finding Guest Presenters | AppleUsers.org Says:

    […] is our fifth instalment of our series on Working with Presenters. The first article covered “Approaching Potential Presenters“, the second one dealt with “Confirming Presenters“, the third talked about […]

%d bloggers like this: