I recently answered this question on LinkedIn. The answer is reproduced below:
- Some methods professional speakers adopt *before* a class, to have participants show up on time:
- 'Show The Plan'. Help participants see the bigger picture that this class will help them move towards.
- 'Involve them'. Involve the participants in planning the class and its contents. Participants need to feel that a class is tailored to their needs, and will help solve their real world problems. The more you involve them before the class, the better their participation during the class.
- 'Hook Them'. Give participants some interest-piquing pre-class preparation to reinforce the importance of their effort. Like a self-assessment test, the answers to which will be revealed in the class.
- 'Build it up'. Posters with interesting visuals and thought-provoking questions related to the topic, viral marketing techniques, advertising the takeaways, automatic reminders on email or SMS ... the internal communication department will love to sink their teeth into this one and come up with many more innovative ideas to drive on-time attendance.
- 'Buffer it'. Scheduling 15-30 minutes of networking time with coffee and a light snack before the class seems to be a brilliant way to catch latecomers. An alternative is to start with analysis of the self-awareness tool. You should see latecomer figures drop dramatically.
- During the class, the most important thing is to make sure the speaker is someone who can really impart value in an interesting manner; i.e. a good presenter with a good presentation and a clear call to action at the end. “Interesting, Informative and Implementable” really works!
- After the class, follow up to make sure that people took away value and are putting to action some or most of their learning. Implementation support and feedback mechanisms actually work are critical in on-time attendance and participation in the next class.