Getting your CPD subject right – A key to success

In real estate, the attractiveness of a property from the street, known as ‘kerb appeal,’ is key to drawing in potential buyers. Similarly, in the realm of Continuing Professional Development (CPD), the title of a seminar holds comparable importance. Choosing an enticing and relevant title can significantly boost the number of enquiries received.

Consider the perspective of those selecting CPD, whether it be an individual or a CPD coordinator. They understand the importance of enhancing their knowledge on a topic due to reasons such as:

  • Starting a project that includes aspects of design they haven’t worked with before.
  • Adjustments required due to new legislation.
  • Wanting to improve their grasp of a system they are now using more regularly.
  • The need to address a gap in their knowledge concerning a specific area of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) core curriculum.

Therefore, they begin searching for appropriate CPD materials. This search might include visiting the websites of specific product manufacturers. Yet, it is more usual to employ Google or visit websites that specialise in CPD content such as RIBA and the CPD Certification service. This search often returns a selection of CPD topics from which they can make their choice.

What method will they use to decide on their final choice? Initially, they will skim through the list of titles and pick the ones that are most appealing. Next, they will evaluate the organisation behind the seminar, likely favouring the one with the best reputation. Finally, if a third step is needed, they will review the CPD course descriptions and choose the seminar that offers the most valuable content and suits their preferred delivery method.

When planning your CPD seminar, it’s important to thoughtfully consider the topic.

  1. Determine what specifiers are eager to learn by reviewing the most common inquiries your technical advisory department or sales team receives. These frequently asked questions are good candidates for CPD topics.
  2. Investigate what topics your competitors are covering. Aim to offer different subjects to stand out; duplicating topics may lessen your chances of being chosen. If a particular subject is essential, at least choose a title that is more specific, descriptive, or enticing.
  3. Identify the new challenges your specifiers are encountering and explore how your products or services can assist them. These challenges could include new legislation, or other factors like the need for dealing with labour shortages.
  4. Highlight the USPs of your products but remember at this stage it is benefits not features that matter.

Additionally, dedicate effort to crafting the seminar description. It should distinctly outline the learning objectives, content, delivery methods, and length. This not only assists the specifier in grasping what they will gain but also showcases your organisation’s professionalism. It instils confidence in them that they will experience a high-quality CPD seminar, rather than merely a presentation of your product catalogue.

Driven by Covid, the preferred methods for delivering CPD have changed. While previously, the norm was to host seminars in a face-to-face setting, often within an architectural firm’s premises, where attendees appreciated the direct interaction such as handling samples and posing questions, the landscape has evolved. The shift towards remote working has heightened the appeal of online seminars, which are available in two formats: live presentations that allow for real-time interaction and recorded seminars that can be viewed on demand, but do not offer a live Q&A session. Face-to-face seminars still remain in demand, but not exclusively at a specifier’s premises. There has been an uptick in demand for them also being available through organised events and within exhibition programmes, both providing a more traditional and interactive learning environment. Looking ahead, it’s anticipated that there will be a continued demand for all four formats, making it essential to clearly communicate the available delivery options.

CPD serves as a powerful tool for making your company known to new specifiers and initiating engagement, positioning your company as a Trusted Advisor. To achieve the highest return on your investment of time and resources, it’s crucial to enhance its attractiveness through an engaging title and compelling content.

Further Information

Chris Ashworth is a Senior Consultant at Competitive Advantage Consultancy which specialises in helping building product manufacturers to be more effective at getting their products selected. Services include bespoke market research, learning and development programmes a range of sales and marketing tools and consultancy to help implement change. Competitive Advantage have recently launched a CPD Matching Service dedicated to facilitating connections between product manufacturers and specifiers such as Architects, Interior Designers, Engineers, and Quantity Surveyors. Our platform offers a curated selection of monthly CPD seminars, providing manufacturers with a platform to showcase their expertise while offering specifiers access to diverse and quality-controlled presentations. This is supported by targeted calls to architects offering your CPD programme, relieving your team of the need to undertake this important but time-consuming role.

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