by Justin Locke
One of the reasons you spend the money on a professional speaker is so you won’t have to worry about that part of your event. After all, you have enough to worry about with the hotel, the audiovisual, the food service, the florist, and the volcanoes in Iceland messing up your attendees’ travel plans.
Professional speakers understand that our purpose in life is to make your life as simple and easy as possible, and our highest priority is to make you look good. But you can significantly improve your event by helping your speakers help you, and it’s not terribly difficult or time-consuming to do.
One very important step: inform your speaker about where he or she lands in the overall flow of the program.
by Justin Locke
An issue that comes up more and more these days when hiring a speaker is that of “electronic transcription,” or simply put, making a recording of a presentation. Meeting planners and speakers both complain about this issue, and a big part of the problem is a lack of communication. Now, I am not an intellectual property lawyer; I am, however, a speaker, publisher, and former union musician. So here goes.
1. When asking for permission to record, be specific as to the scope of your use.
Back when I played in union orchestras, recordings were prohibited by default, but folks who hired us could always get permission to record a concert for no extra payment as long as it was only for “archival and study purposes” - or, in other words, for in-house use, and not to be broadcast or sold.
by Justin Locke
When I decided to become a professional speaker, I had to address an issue: what to wear. Some people can get away with the “rumpled professor” look, but that was not for me. I’d spent too many years as a musician, wearing a tux or tails every night, to feel comfortable performing in casual attire. Besides, professional speaking is a little like bullfighting. One should feel confident. Feeling good about how one looks is a big part of that.
My preexisting collection of ragtag suits was not up to the task, so I popped over to the men’s department at Bloomingdale’s and said, “Okay… I want something sharp.”
They had just the thing: beautiful suits, shirts, and ties, all Italian. I figured out how some got the brand name. At the end of the transaction, the salesperson said, “Well, it was your money, but now it’s all Armani.”
• Using technology to increase membership and streamline communication
Let’s face it… with technology changing on an almost daily basis, it’s easy for event planners to become discouraged when trying to keep up with the latest trends in digital marketing. This particularly holds true for association planners, who oftentimes face the challenge of reaching older membership bases that are not always fluent with the latest technology.
“When you consider the fact that many associations have been around before personal computers were even available, trying to unify an entire membership base using that technology can be both challenging and frustrating,” explained Ed Rigsbee, Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and President of Rigsbee Research. “Nevertheless, when used properly, digital marketing campaigns can help associations bolster membership and provide a valuable return on investment for members by offering value-added content and stimulating discussion.”
When it comes to marketing, there’s no question that the membership-based structure of associations puts them at a distinct advantage when it comes to getting in touch with the masses. The trick is knowing just what marketing technologies can take advantage of an association’s membership structure to create synergy amongst members. “While some older association executives view digital marketing technology as a passing trend, the powerful communication tools of these new services are bringing people together in ways that were previously impossible,” said Rigsbee. “Such technology cannot be overlooked.”
What About Going Paperless?
• Internet, flash drives or specially designed rooms are options
• Trend in meetings seems to be reducing the paper load
A conference attendee checks in and receives a packet that seems like it must weigh ten pounds. Fitted into a three-ring binder are the various conference materials, ranging from speakers’ notes to an agenda. As the attendee looks for the agenda, he mumbles: “How am I going to get through all this information?” “Why didn’t they just put this online?”
At another conference, an attendee finds out that there aren’t any printed materials for the conference and she is handed a custom-made flash drive. Disgusted, she says to herself: “What’s this, I don’t even have a laptop with me? I paid such and such for this meeting, and I don’t get any printed information? How am I supposed to follow what the speakers will be saying?” And, she is off to voice a complaint.
How to Conduct Meetings That Deserve Applause
Roles and REsponsibilities
I recently enjoyed a conversation with Management Consultant Paula Taylor about effective meetings. You will find her thoughts most helpful in your meetings.
You did all the right things to prepare for this meeting. You invited the right people, sent an advance agenda, started the meeting on time, but it went downhill from there. Preparing for a meeting is step one. Knowing your role and responsibilities and those of the other attendees is step two. A well run meeting has a facilitator, a leader, members and a recorder. Each role has specific responsibilities. If every role is not filled or its responsibilities not met, the likelihood of a successful meeting is greatly diminished.
In today’s time-starved, relationship-diminished world, audiences crave attention and connection with each other, want ready-to-use ideas, and still expect to be entertained.
These goals are often at odds when preparing a presentation that will make people rave about one’s program long afterwards. Consequently, successful presenters need gut instincts - basic insights into how to grab and hold their audience’s attention.
The annual meeting. Once thought a dinosaur, an inevitable victim of online communication and distance learning, the association annual meeting is instead going strong.
It makes sense. The once-a-year gathering allows like-minded professionals to catch up on trends, sample a range of continuing education, gain hands-on experience with the hottest products and services geared to their industry, get up close and personal with colleagues and thought leaders and be wined and dined by host cities. The total immersion is well worth a cross-country jaunt and a few days in a top destination.
In fact, according to the FutureWatch 2007 survey conducted by MPI and American Express®, the meetings industry is stronger than ever. The report reveals that association planners expect the number of meetings held by their organizations to increase by 18% and the number of attendees at those events to increase by 19%. That’s good news for associations, which saw attendance drop dramatically in the wake of 9/11.
PowerPoint® slideshows are just as common in presentations as are whiteboards in classrooms. In many cases, they’re just as boring.Speakers looking to maximize their messages need to find new methods of connecting with audiences, according to Paul LeRoux, co-author of Visual Selling: Capture the Eye and the Customer Will Follow.
LeRoux is the founder of communications company Twain Associates, Inc. and has been coaching presenters on “visual selling” techniques for more than 25 years.Focusing audiences toward words on a screen, according to LeRoux, is an ineffective method that undermines speakers. He encourages them to adopt dynamic visual selling behaviors, drawing attention to oneself and expressing concepts through imagery rather than bullet points.
A good speaker can make a meeting, and almost every planner has nailed down a set of tried-and-true criteria for speaker selection. For some, a demo video can make or break a decision.
The National Speakers Association Foundation Research/Metrics Committee has released the results of a preliminary study on the impact of demo videos on planners’ speaker decisions. A group of 11 meeting planners viewed five different videos and rated speakers on several factors such as content and personality.