The power of a hot seat panel
Hot seats are an event within an event usually at seminars. The premise is there is a panel of experts who listen to a business owner or entrepreneur explain a problem or problems they wish to have solved. Once the panel hears what is going on they prescribe the “fixes” that could take place in order to increase business.
The hot seats can include people on the panel from all sorts of different business sectors or industries. This helps the answers vary and may give insights maybe not expected from the business person or entrepreneur who is being advised by the panel. It could very well be the person on the hot seat is a rookie when it comes to business or even that “hard core” guy who has been around forever but just has one of those problems or issues that just keep popping up.
So what does this have to do with you and your business?
Chet Holmes used to say “there are only so many fundamentals”. This quote applies any industry or any service.
When you get the chance to sit in on a “hot seat” whether for”
- · Sales
- · Marketing
- · Production
- · Business development
You will find that something applies to what you do or could have an impact on your own growth.
The experts on the panel have a different view as to what is going on and many times have been involved in different industries. They key here is that as issues happen in our own lives we tend to focus on what is around us and stop looking for the things or items a little further out that could help business.
The sad thing is that for many people in the audience do not think that what they are hearing applies to them. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The information given in the “hot seats” are pure gold most of the time because more than likely what is said applies to what you are doing somehow. The problem for many is that it takes just a little more thought than normal to figure out how to make it work for you.
So the panel has a question about marketing?
Maybe it really doesn’t apply to what you do but it may in the future.
Next the panel has a question about sales…
And sales can always apply to what you do. It could very well be that the salesperson is struggling. If the sales person is having issues you may want to take notes because more than likely someone in your own organization is having or will have the same struggle.
The cool thing about hot seats are that they give you a heads up of what to look for or they can help you see some of the challenges in your own organization.
Sometimes the information that you hear and gather may have to sit dormant in your brain for later use and implementation, this is why it is a good idea to make sure you take notes as to what is going on and the recommendations made by the panel.
Next level hot seats
One of the things you will see in just about any seminar or class is the dead silence that happens when the floor is opened for questions.
Many times business people do not want to look dumb in front of their peers so they will forgo the information that could be gathered to help propel business into the stratosphere.
Think about this for a moment:
Most of the experts who are on these hot seat panels charge a fairly hefty sum of Moolah to have a conversation with outside of the seminar setting and for some of them that is if you could get through to the “gatekeeper” on any given day.
It’s never a good idea to think that most of the business people know the fundamentals as to what they do for a job.
Let’s take this “hot seat” example and amp it up a few notches for you the next time you get a chance.
Some people are scared to death to talk to one of these “experts” because they may think badly towards the business practices being performed in the real life…
So what is a smart business person to do?
Go up and compliment the “expert” from the hot seat on what they said. Now this works because who in their right mind doesn’t like a well placed compliment. Now many times this opens up the doors for you to have a conversation about what you do. Almost every time this plays out the expert will have to ask about what you do for work and then they usually ask about what you learned on the hot seat.
This strategy works well if you are comfortable talking to strangers or even if you are scared to ask your question.
If you are not first you are last
Any time you plan to go to a seminar where you can “rub elbows” with some experts you should have some questions you want to have answered about your business or industry lined out. The more thought you put into what you want to know specifically the better chance you have of gathering excellent information for growth.
If you are ready for the questions you should be the first person to volunteer to get put on the “hot seat” and do so quickly. Usually the first person up gets the best amount of time and gets the best advice. Plenty of people in the room will squirm at the thought of having to be in front of the room but who would you rather have judge you: people you will never see again for the most part who could help you grow your business or team or your potential clients you spend hefty amounts of marketing money to get your hands on?
Most people will answer the experts but a few will sit struggling and “lead a life of quiet desperation”.
Your best option is to show up prepared with question you want to have answered even if there is no hot seat at the event.
Just think for a moment:
If you could ask just one question you have been dying to ask an expert in your industry or field what would it be?
Figure out at least 5 of these questions and write them on index cards before you go to your event. Keep them in your pocket and rank them from 1-5. Why 5 cards instead of 10? That is because there isn’t enough focus with that many questions. You also want to show the expert you are asking a question to that you have prepared enough to take his or her time. Normally when you show preparation the expert will be more willing to give you advice.
Now there will be times where the person you ask a question to doesn’t want to play ball and answer questions or talk to you, that is ok. Find someone else to ask the questions to but always be gracious and thank people for their time.
Relationships and advice
Now let’s just say you met the person on the hot seat you wanted and you got that special advice where you can take your business to the next level now what?
You do the smart thing and send them a hand written “Thank You!” card. No an email will not work so don’t think it’s worth it. Here is the really important part, expect nothing to ever happen once they get the card. You send it because it is the right thing to do. If you imagine the “expert” wanting to hang out after the event just because you sent a card it is ok to stop thinking that right now.
Always take the time to think out the questions you want to or need to ask and normally you get rewarded.
If you get a chance to be the “guy” or “girl” in the position for the hot seat jump on it as fast as possible and volunteer first.
Just remember even if you are not in a related field listen to the examples and figure out how to make the information work for you. Who knows you may very well grab that hidden elusive nugget of information you have been looking for.
Now go implement!
Scott Sylvan Bell
Connect on twitter @scottsbell