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Giving Clients Your Materials

Beth Terry

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Do you give clients PDF files of your materials to distribute to the attendees on a CD-ROM?

-- Note from Beth Terry:

Answers varied from "absolutely yes" to "absolutely not" to "well, maybe with a fee."

-- Vickie Sullivan

Yep, I have had groups ask for that. What I did: a copy of the PowerPoint slides. Because there are only one or two words for each point, it gave enough info to be enticing but not enough to get the content. It also gave me enough flexibility to give the latest stats.

-- Tracy Brown

This is a very common request from the associations I have worked for.

  • I send a PDF file rather than a Word or PowerPoint document that could be more easily edited by an attendee or the client.
  • I usually set the security on the PDF file to allow printing but not editing.
  • I put the copyright information, plus at least one way to contact my company, on every page of the document.
  • I sometimes use the footer on the page to print a link to a free ebook or newsletter -- an incentive for others they might send the file to visit my site.
  • And I always make sure at the front and/or end of the document there is a big notice about a page on my Web site where attendees can go for more information (i.e. a recommended reading list or a free ebook) again to try to get that person to visit my site and learn more about me or my business.

-- Kathy Fediw

I have made it my policy to charge extra per person for workbooks, especially if I'm doing a workshop for an association where they are charging people to attend. So when they or a third party request permission to include the workbook on a CD-ROM, I tell them that this is copyrighted material (which it is) and due to our previous agreement I cannot allow it to be included on the CD. They can always purchase extra copies of the workbooks if they want to, or direct attendees or anyone else who may be purchasing the CD-ROM to my Web site where they can contact me to purchase a workbook for themselves.

I also no longer sell the workbooks as a stand-alone product, they must hire me in order to get the workbooks or pay a significant "research and development" fee. I got burned once by an association who wanted to purchase the workbooks, then cancelled the seminar at the last minute but still wanted to buy the workbooks at the original (low) fee.

If the client doesn't want to purchase the workbook, I'll provide them with a very brief one-or-two page outline with my contact information and that's it.

-- Michael Podolinsky

We live and work in Asia and this is just standard biz. We send the handouts to clients in softcopy to produce for us. If they want to include it in a CD (rare), happy to have them do it. The handouts are worthless without US doing the program to explain what it all means. Sure they can use the references and Web sites we give in the resources section. Wonderful! Our books and site are there too.

They request our slides and tell them we do not have copyright permission to share the photos but give them the stripped down version. Hey, no one is going to look at it anyway. If they do, it just makes them curious to see us live. If someone wants to steal the material, again, without our stories, energy, etc., it doesn't make sense.

-- Nancy Stern

It will depend on the audience. If it's for a group like NSA or ASTD I won't allow it as I have been blatantly ripped-off. If it's for an association of chemical engineers or some unrelated field, I allow it in PDF only for one time. I have also added it as a one time license fee if the group is very large.

-- Peggy Duncan

Your handout is just that. I'm sorry, but I must be missing something because I don't see what the issue is. Whether they give it to them in paper format or CD...does it matter? Some events I do give the attendees a binder with everyone's handout in it, and I really like this because even the people who don't attend my session will get my info.

You can protect yourself by writing the copyright statement on every page.

-- Rick Brenner

I don't wait for them to ask -- I offer it. They're often pleasantly surprised, and with that frame of mind, they're more willing to accept my restrictions.

I require that the material go only to attendees or their supervisors, because I don't want it to become part of their in-house training library without my being compensated for that. I let the material go to supervisors of attendees because they probably should know what I said (or some of it anyway), and because it could lead to more business. And of course every page (and the File Properties) has my contact info and a copyright date.

By the way, I never give out Word documents, because PDF gives much better control of how things will actually look for them. Also, I lock the PDF to prevent copy-and-paste. And if they ask for slides (PowerPoint) I give them a PDF of slides, not in PowerPoint.

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