Issue:Marketing of Open Space - How to sell the idea?

Convenor:Jan Feil

Participants:Terry, Alexander (GE), Ilse, Martin, Mikk, Antti-Jahara

Summary of the meeting:To convience potential clients for OS to make use of your services as an facilitator, the following thoughts may be useful:

1) You could offer to work without salary the first time you run an OS meeting. - Probably, its useful to be clear on a fair price for the second meeting your new client may be interested in. Doing this you try to avoid the assumption that something offered for free is not worse much. Make it an special offer and be honest about your personal motives in trying to build up a basis of clients to become a better professional (if that is what you intend).

2) Be clear on the advantages of OS. A list for inspiration could be: - self organisation is strengthened (the client will not necessarily make himself dependend on consultancies). Rather its an option to learn a tool everybody can manage. - Responsibility is supported on all levels (individually not the least) - the participants are likely to reach common ground and gain understanding - when considering the amount of people involved the method is cheap (only one consultant involved) - OS is a great communication tool. It is likely to make everybody change ideas and network better (if that is what the client really wants...)

3) Be clear on the disadvantages of what you offer. A list could be: - it may appear time consuming (though it can be shortened to sessions of relatively few hours if conditions allow it) - many people should be part of the thing (employees are involved) - loss of control - the magic part, it can not all be explained in scientific terms

4) To sell the idea, you need to sell yourself, and to do that you need experience. Get experience from anywhere possible, but remember the pitfall to be personally involved with the group practicing OS.

5) Listen to your client (give the space to your client), - and resist the temptation to prove your value by giving premature advice.

6) Invite potential new clients to participate in the events conducted for others. The idea is that being part of OS is better that being told about it. In the same line of thinking your client is probably not interested in being lectured about the secrets of why OS works. It works, that is enough.

7) Try to have a diverse group of participants (example: staff and board and customers and stakeholders) if possible. The event will be more successful and your skills will be known to more people perhaps later making use of your services.

8) Ask yourself: Am I ready to work as an professional facilitator? Personally, I will never really be ready, but I may do it anyway... So, do not ask yourself that question?

9) Ask advice from regular marketing people and everybody else you find appropriate. No need to invent everything regarding marketing from scratch.

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