Nadine Dereza was asked to facilitate the HBAA Forum last month. And if you haven’t heard of the HBAA before, well it’s a dynamic trade association for the hotel booking agency, apartment and venue community, and so the audience was formed of the great and good from the industry, eager to share knowledge and ideas. One of the benefits of writing a book called Insider Secrets of Public Speaking is that we are often asked to talk about the contents, and as result HBAA asked Nadine and Ian Hawkins to also present a session on Crisis Media Management specifically for hotels and venues.

To put a twist on the old advertising slogan, we didn’t make a drama out of a crisis, but we did manage to make a PowerPoint presentation out of several bad news stories that struck a chord with our audience.

It’s a well-established approach to speaking at a conference: take your general points, research for industry-specific examples, and always be on the look out for things that contradict your tried and tested principles. Oh, and try to avoid clichés (full marks in this case for not mentioning Fawlty Towers). During the research and build of this particular presentation, it became clear that hotels and venues had a particular issue that standard Crisis Media Management sessions didn’t really cover: the ubiquity of online customer reviews.

Before Nadine and Ian began their presentation, Jonathan Bradshaw from Meetology opened the day’s proceedings with an energetic and provocative look at some of the research that’s been done on human interactions. What are the nudges that can get someone to say ‘yes’ to a deal or change their mind about something? Jon offered some great practical insights, such as the finding that people are more likely to agree to buy when they’ve been given a warm caffeinated drink, or give more money to a charity tin rattler who is standing at the top of an escalator. The take-home message from Jon’s presentation was that there are lots of things you can do to make a positive impact on an interaction, whether it is for business or pleasure (Jon himself left us in no doubt as to what scents we should be picking up next time we have time to kill in a departure lounge). Continue reading →