135: Why Your Leadership Conference Lacks Depth

Dear Leader: If you've ever left a leadership event wondering where the depth was, this podcast episode is for you.

Over the last week, I've had conversations with female leaders in a variety of industries including: financial, direct sales, and engineering. While listening to their stories it became clear that female leaders are hungry for leadership training that has depth.

Just last week I sat in a lunch meeting with twenty women in our community. We were there to hear from a panel of three women leaders that lead in male dominated industries. I went there with the expectation that I would learn from their experience, so when the panel started, I grabbed my planner and took copious notes. Now, I wouldn't qualify this talk as a "deep" leadership talk. However, there were nuggets of depth there that really inspired me in many ways. I was able to grasp those tiny nuggets of depth because I set my expectations beforehand.

A few days after this event, I shared a story on Instagram about this topic and asked if people wanted a podcast episode on it. The response was an overwhelming YES! So here it is - a solo episode to help you consider what typically leads to a lack of depth in leadership events and how to begin changing it.

I've included a few of my notes below so you can refer back to them after hearing this episode...


Things to consider when planning, attending, or speaking at a leadership conference:


Formats that do not lend well to depth:

  • Panels
  • Conferences where you have a different speaker each session - depth requires vulnerability and vulnerability requires trust. That is really challenging to do when you are meeting a new presenter each hour. (This is why our Beautiful Wholeness event is so unique in our area! You only have two coaches/presenters for the entire weekend!)

Presenter Styles to consider:

  • Most presenters speaking for a 60-90 minute session have a lot of information that they want or need to get through based on what they were hired for. Digging deep in a short amount of time requires two things in this situation:
    • Vulnerability on the part of the presenter.
    • The skill to pivot a session based on what the audience needs and a willingness to skip content that was planned in order to dig deeper when the audience asks for it in the moment.

Audience Expectations to consider:

  • Check your expectation when you go to a conference, training, or luncheon. Are you expecting depth? If so, come prepared with some questions you want to ask the presenter during the Q&A time.
  • Recognize the goal of the event. If the goal of the event truly is just to get a lot of training in a short amount of time, take notes on which presenters you connect with best and contact them individually to see what kind of services they offer to take their training deeper. For example: The goal of leadership conferences for Direct Sales Companies is to teach distributors how to sell. It’s typically NOT to help you become a confident person outside of their product or service.
  • Don’t expect depth if you’re not willing to dig deep yourself.

These are the things to consider as to why your leadership conference lacks depth.

So what do you do from here?

If you are planning a leadership training: Keep in mind that depth matters to your attendees. Consider how you can tweak your schedule to allow more time with less presenters. Give presenters permission to pivot on the fly if the need arises.

If you are speaking at a leadership training: Prepare ahead of time and allow spots for content to be skipped over if the opportunity arises to dive deeper into one piece of the content. Let your meeting planners know that you are willing to do that. And if the meeting planners don't want this service, let your attendees know how to reach you so they can go deeper with you one on one.

And if you are attending a leadership training: Check your expectations. You get what you focus on. Bring a notebook and be ready to catch tiny nuggets of depth. Then, reach out and work with a coach one-on-one or in a group coaching program to really activate the depth you are desiring.

~Coach Mandy


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