Preparing Industry Speakers: Part 2

November 13, 2014

Good Day Beautiful People,

Brian Palmer here. Last time I was with you, I talked about the importance of making sure your industry speakers know why they were invited, what you want them to do, what you want them to talk about and how you want their session to go.

Today I want to recommend that you provide your industry speakers with an opportunity to improve their presentation—some sort of a coach or an online tool. Skillshare has all sorts of public speaking classes that people can take. Make sure that people are going to be up to the task.

Industry speakers are often things that nobody else can give your attendees. So it’s wise to put some time and effort into telling them what you want them to do, but also give them some educational opportunities to make sure that they deliver a high quality product at your event.


Variety is the spice of meetings.

October 27, 2014

Good Day Beautiful People,

Brian Palmer here to talk about variety being the spice of a meeting. When you have a speaker that goes over well, there’s often a desire to bring in a similar speaker for this year’s event. I think it’s wise to go afield from the speaker that you had before. If you bring in the same sort of speaker, chances are it’s going to be compared to last year’s big success. It’s often difficult for somebody this year to compare favorably to last year’s success. I believe you should go pretty far afield from the success that you had last year. Bring somebody different in. Appeal to a different sensibility, and I think the odds of your event being well-received go up.

The Unknown Speaker

September 11, 2014

Good Day Beautiful People,

Brian Palmer here. We get to see a great many speaker evaluations and commonly, people say things on there like, “I had never heard of this speaker before, but boy, was she good! That was the highlight of the conference.”

We’ve often suggested that people, when they’ve never heard of the speaker, are delighted when that speaker does a particularly good job. We think it’s wise to hire really good speakers who might not be well known. They tend to cost a great deal less and create a particularly happy audience.

Satisfaction is somewhat a function of expectations, and when expectations aren’t particularly high, audiences find themselves particularly satisfied. I heard about this study that was done: “On the road to happiness, a pleasant surprise beats a sure thing.” That was the Washington Post article about the study which essentially said that audiences are particularly delighted when they get an unexpected surprise. I’ve got a link to the article below. You might want to read it and make sure that when you hire no-name speakers, they’re really good and you will particularly delight your group.

There’s No Such Thing as a Free Speaker

November 18, 2013

MPI’s Magazine, The Meeting Professional, recently featured an article written by Brian Palmer, CMM, President of National Speakers Bureau.

In this piece, he puts forth the notion that a process to prepare speakers should be in place for everyone who is to present, even those who might be appearing as a favor or in support of their own cause. It remains your event, and the odds of their talk achieving your objectives go up when your management is consistent.

You can read the full article here.

Writing Contract Riders

September 25, 2013

Contract riders have a lot more to do than with blue M&M’s. It’s usually a list of things that need to be in place that help the performer do his very best.

I think it’s a very good idea to have your own rider of sorts. You might not want to call it that, but I think it’s wise to have a list of things you want speakers to do and things you want to happen at your event – things based on history that will help the session go well, things like a speaker not talking about their books too much in their presentation or arriving at a certain time in the day. You can learn every time you book a speaker, refine that list, and implement it every time you book somebody new to increase the likelihood that your objectives are met.

Speaker Introductions (Part 2)

September 18, 2013

Last time I talked about the importance of a good introduction. Here’s a trick that Alan Parisse taught me many years ago about helping people do a good job with their introductions.

People usually get a piece of paper and read the words, and they’re in paragraph forms. It’s a little difficult at times, if somebody wants to look around and make eye contact with the audience, to then look back down and find out exactly where they were.

Alan’s idea was to make each sentence its own paragraph. It allows the person to read, look up, and find his or her place much more readily, and it’s something that, I think, will make the job easier and provide your speakers with a better start to their presentation.

The goal of the National Speakers Bureau is to help you create a successful event. If you like this post, do not forget to follow us. For more information and useful tips, please visit our planning tools page.

Speaker Introductions (Part 1)

September 11, 2013

Introducing a speaker during your event is a pivotal moment for your program. In this first post, Brian discusses some things about speaker introductions.

The introduction is a key element of a presentation. It establishes credibility and rapport with the audience and sets the tone for the rest of the session. If the audience is lost at the outset, your speaker may have a tough time connecting with them later. You want the audience to accept your speaker as a person, to trust the information put forth in the presentation and ultimately believe the overall message of the session. And that all begins with a good beginning.

As you plan your event, don’t disregard the person introducing your speaker. Too often, the speaker introduction is scribbled on a cocktail napkin five minutes before the start of the session. Many speakers have a formal introduction already ready. Consider using that as a starting point since it often will tease some of the primary points of the presentation. Whether you use a prepared introduction word for word, or draft your own, you may want to check it with the speaker ahead of time. In doing so, you stand a better chance of getting the audience’s attention, you reduce possible surprises and you create a smooth transition.

The best introductions last no longer than two or three minutes and should include information that is relevant to the audience. Just as a presentation should custom fit the group you’re addressing, the ideal introduction also should include a degree of customization — something that immediately relates to the listeners.

One way to make sure a memorable event is to assign the introduction to someone who knows the audience and is comfortable speaking in front of a group. Get the audience’s attention, and then give them a good taste for what’s about to come next.

The goal of the National Speakers Bureau is to help you create a successful event. If you like this post, do not forget to follow us. For more information and useful tips, please visit our planning tools page.

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