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.


Preparing Industry Speakers: Part 1

November 6, 2014

Good Day Beautiful People,

Brian Palmer here to tell you a story about a speech—a speech that I gave. An industry association invited me to speak at their event. I accepted and signed on the dotted line. Along the way, I kept asking the organizer what they wanted me to talk about, and I never received an answer. Calls and emails—I never received a response. So I, through my other means, went around and figured out what the purpose of the gathering was and what they wanted me to talk about.

The day of the event, about 5 minutes before I was to speak, the guy that invited me rushed into the room and said, “Hey, I never told you what I wanted you to talk about! What are you going to talk about?” I said, “Why don’t you wait around and see?” He did stay, and he was happy. The audience was happy, and all went well. But it went well because I investigated on my own.


About the half the times that I’ve been invited to speak at an event, I don’t hear from the organizer what they’re looking for me to do or what they want me to accomplish with my session. I find out on my own. When you hire industry speakers or invite them to speak at your event—industry experts—don’t leave it to chance that they know what you’re going to say. Don’t leave it to chance that their message is going to be appropriate for your audience or event objectives.

Always tell people why they were invited and what is the purpose of the event. Give them some information about the audience and demographics. Give them a very clear target to make sure that their presentation accomplishes your event objectives.

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.


October 2, 2013

Today’s topic is lighting. We actually do a good bit of our listening with our eyes. We take meaning from a person’s expression and the way they’re using their hands. If you can’t see their face and if you can’t almost read their lips, it’s harder to get some of the subtle meanings. So, it’s important to have the space where your speaker is appearing be well lit so audiences can see them well.

I think that’s one of the things that drove the advent of image magnification – so that a speaker’s face was a lot bigger, and they could see the speaker. And when he or she might wink at an audience or make a subtle move, the speaker can be seen better – a lot better – on your screen.

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.

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