I’m Sure

I travel. A lot. Not as much as I used to but it’s still a bit.

When I travel, I take a stack of unread books. The stack I bring is always one or two books more than I believe I’ll finish. For example, my last trip to Delhi lasted two weeks. The reading list for that trip…

| Marketing and Promoting Your Own Seminars and Workshops
| by Fred Gleeck
| Self-published, 2001
| 188 pages

| How to Run Seminars & Workshops
| by Robert L. Jolles
| Wiley; 3 edition, 2005
| 320 pages

| Why’s (poignant) Guide to Ruby
| by Why the Lucky Stiff
| Self-published
| 126 pages

| Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
| by Malcolm Gladwell
| Little, Brown and Company, 2005
| 288 pages

| Head First Servlets and JSP
| by Bryan Basham, Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates
| O’Reilly Media, 2004
| 886 pages

On these trips, I save the most anticipated book for last. That book, in this case, was Blink. I didn’t get that far this trip. I enjoyed Gladwell’s previous work, “The Tipping Point”, and want to take some time with Blink.

I read the two geek books. “Head First” is as good a book as you’ll find on Java Servlets and JSP. “Why’s Poignant guide” is difficult to classify, tedious to read and thoroughly enjoyable.

The remaining two books—both related to running seminars and workshops—are the subject of this post.

I’ve not finished Jolles book “How to run Seminars & Workshops” and will review more completely when I have. I will, however, make a few statements here.

Robert L. Jolles and Fred Gleeck are cut from different cloth. Their books could hardly have been more distinct from one another.

The manner in which Jolles and Gleeck each present their material reflects the core tenants of their respective approach to running a seminar business. This is how each of the two authors occur to me.

Jolles’ position is that your seminar participants paid to be informed, to be trained, to walk out of your seminar with an increased level of mastery of the material that you—as seminar leader—were entrusted to deliver.

Gleeck’s position is that your seminar participants walk out having bought products you presented during the seminar and, perhaps, register for another of your seminars.

This isn’t to say that Gleeck’s book is bad. It’s not. He is very consistent and upfront in what he says. And, he practices what he preaches. If the point of a seminar is to have people buy your products and register for another of your seminars, then it should come as no surprise that the point of Gleeck’s book is to have you buy his products and register for one of his seminars.

That’s the beauty of “Marketing and Promoting…” Reading this book is to be in his seminar.

I found myself at once marvelling at and revolted by this book. It starts off light enough with an overview and some of the nuts and bolts of running a seminar business. Much of the material is univerally relevant, if colored by Gleeck’s view of the intent of a seminar.

There are better books for learning event production and management. Far better books.

But there is value to be had in “Marketing and Promoting…” as a companion to “Influence: Science and Practice” by Robert B. Cialdini. Whereas Cialdini’s book offers a systematic view of the psychology of influence, Gleeck’s book immerses you in his efforts to influence … you.

By the time I finished Gleeck’s book, I was exhausted. “Marketing and Promoting…” is a self referential study in offering just enough information to keep an audience interested, but not enough to satiate curiosity; employing various techniques of influence to position products as ‘the missing piece’; and closing the sale.

The first half of the book is weighted towards building curiosity. The second half is weighted towards closing sales with you.

Throughout the book, Gleeck talks of his desire to sell “a ton of product.” It should come as no surprise then that he wants to sell a ton of product to you.

He offers you a free gift. The offer is printed in the footer on every page.

He talks about upselling. That is, have various price points available and when someone keys in on a product, work to sell them the next higher priced item.

He sprinkles invitations to call him throughout the book. They occurred to me as invitations to hear another sales pitch. Gleeck is upfront about this. “Don’t be surprised if I suggest you buy something from me when you call,” he writes.

I’m sure.

1 Comment

  1. Man I did not know you started again! Blink was pretty good.

    War of Art is my latest excellent read.

    Spam can be gone with Spam Karma! works for me!




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