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I have the task of recommending upcoming events and CPD activities that my colleagues might like to attend. This is done at the weekly staff meetings in my office. I try to include a variety of subject material and event types for everybody. My question is, how should I go about encouraging more interest or enthusiasm in my colleagues to attend events?

I don't ramble on for very long, I present a few sentences about each event and ask if anyone is interested in going, and am usually met with blank stares and complete silence. When others do come along to some events/activities they usually enjoy it or find it interesting, so I feel like I am coming up with the right kind of things.

One suggestion has been made by my partner to try and explain why the event might be enjoyable or beneficial, in other words, to get my colleagues to see what is in it for them. Does anyone else have any ideas?

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This has nothing to do with whether your colleagues respect you or not IMHO. They may respect you just fine and still not be interested in going to the events you are pitching. It's simply this: if you want people to get enthusiastic about something that you're presenting, then you have to start by being enthusiastic about it yourself! It doesn't sound like you are. Sell, don't tell. How much do you know about the event you're pitching? Would you go to it? If not, why would you expect anyone else to get interested? If so, then why? Are you telling them why? I would say probably not.

Sounds to me like you need to bone up on your sales skills a bit. Find out what people are interested in, find people who will fill that interest, tell them about it. Get excited. Ask people if you can sign them up. If they're still not interested, go back to the beginning. People will attend events that they think will be interesting.

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The first question I would ask as an employee is: who is paying for the event? And by paying for the event I mean my hours while at the event, and any entrance or participation fees. Also I want to know that my manager won't ask me to stay late to make up the time.

If the time and money aspects aren't being addressed I would have zero interest in attending those events. The fact that you are tasked with finding events doesn't mean that management is willing to pay employees to attend.

I have worked for organizations that would never pay for this. It doesn't matter how cool they sound, or how much fun it would be, or how enthusiastic you are. Unless I see a direct connection to helping me land a new job, or get a promotion; I see no reason why I would be interested in things that will cost me my free time and my money.

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The employees likely do not want to attend the event, and it has nothing to do with you or the way you are pitching the event.

Not everyone likes to do things with their colleagues outside of work and/or attend extracurricular events, especially if the events are held during non-working time, and especially if they feel as though they are being forced to attend.

Related questions:

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When others do come along to some events/activities they usually enjoy it or find it interesting

Then you need to get some of these people to tell the group how much they enjoyed it. Everyone is different, so give them a variety of ways to do this:

  1. Stand up and tell everyone about it at the next meeting.
  2. Write up and email or blog or something about how much they enjoyed it.
  3. Take pictures at the event and post the ones showing people having a good time.
  4. Take video and show that or get some sort of quick video interview as a follow-up if you can't take a camera to the event.

Sometimes it just takes on extra person to be engaged and get the crowd going. How do you fill an empty dance floor? You could replace the music or maybe someone just needs to start dancing since everyone else doesn't want to be the first.

  • Telling people about successful events is a great idea, thank you – Viv Mar 20 '16 at 23:02
  • I also think it is important for people to hear from other participants. No one really wants to hear you talk about how someone else had fun when they can hear it directly from the person. I think it provides validation. – user8365 Mar 24 '16 at 17:31
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I don't know for how many staff you present your ideas, but is it possible to talk to (a few of) them individually (like casually when on coffee break or something) and find out what they would find interesting or useful? Maybe if you involve them, they get a little more enthusiastic before you present your ideas and you won't be met with only blank stares

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If you do believe that people are interested in these events, perhaps telling everyone verbally at a meeting and asking for people to commit to coming at that moment is the wrong medium for your message. People might be intimidated by the herd mentality, so that even if they are interested in an event, they are unlikely to stick their neck out and say so. They might want to check their calendars to see if they are free. They might want to check with their friends to see if they are going. No one wants to be the only one to sign up...

My suggestion would be that you could mention the topics at the meeting, but then summarize them in an email, and have people sign up with you by replying to that email. This would help let them plan their schedules a bit, and make it less of a social burden to sign up on the spot. You could also add a bit of enticement / pressure to it by saying "only 3 spots left!"

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Your colleagues don't find you interesting and you don't command their respect.

When someone goes to a CPD event they want a person that is an absolute beast on a subject talking about what they know. Even if its not in my realm of general interest I love to hear how smart/talented people do things.

An event like this is not a conversation. You don't bring up topics unless you are talking about them or introducing someone to talk about them. Now that you have ran these and they have failed you have less authority and respect.

Verdict: Quit doing what doesn't work over and over. Get quality people to talk about topics people care about or quit running the sessions.

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    Oh, no I don't run the sessions, I research events and tell people about them so they can register to attend. Also the task of finding these events and activities was given to me by the boss. – Viv Mar 18 '16 at 5:25
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    "The beatings will continue until morale improves." A manager can't create enthusiasm from nothing, and neither can you, though you can damage morale relatively easily. Find out what your co-workers want --you can propose ideas like ending technology or insight into what the competition is doing -- but even a topic that they are interested in will go nowhere if they don't feel they can afford the time. Management needs to give them space and support, they need to have some idea of what would be useful to them, and your job is to extract that from them, deliver that. and get out of their way. – keshlam Mar 18 '16 at 7:50

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