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Friday, March 20, 2015

Snoozing in Meetings - Opening Keynote

Workers waste more than two hours a day on average by surfing the Web, conducting personal business, chatting with co-workers, and just zoning out, according to an online survey conducted by AOL and Salary.com.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Catchy Titles Counts - Opening Keynote

Never forget the value of a catchy name, advertising, and promotion. Pikes Peak is actually only the 25th highest mountain in the American Rockies, but it is the one that everyone refers to first.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Advantage, Early Bird - Opening Keynote

One simple habit that leads to success according to Michael Masterson, interviewed in Bottomline Secrets, is to get up early! "'Early to rise'" he says is not an absolute mandate for success (Thomas Edison was a night owl), but most successful people I know get to work before their colleagues. Getting to work early provides you with quiet time that can be profitably spent before the rest of the world starts working. "

"Arriving early also sends a strong message to colleagues and bosses that you are on top of your game. Early birds are viewed as energetic, organized and ambitious. People who arrive late and leave late look as if they're not in control."

Sounds good to me.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wasted Time: Multi-tasking - Opening Keynote

Multi-tasking: time saver or time waster? You've got a big conference coming up, so you double-up on tasks, and why not: multitasking is promoted as an efficient way to meet the complex demands of our modern society and accomplish more in the same amount of time. But is it really?

Have you ever attempted to work on a document while cruising the Internet or talking on the phone? You don't accomplish much, and time mysteriously disappears.

Read more: 

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Prepare Supporting Materials - Opening Keynote

The best speakers have all their supporting materials readily available: Undoubtedly, before your scheduled event, you'll need a biography, an introduction, a write-up of the presentation, and perhaps a photo of the speaker. The seasoned pro has such items and others readily available. These aren't things he or she has to go round up; top professional speakers offer such elements online so that you can examine them at will.

When these materials are not readily available, it may a sign that something is amiss -- a speaker without a portfolio is like a firefighter without a hose.

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Thursday, February 05, 2015

Basic Audience Needs - Opening Keynote

Since my first paid presentation in 1983, I’ve learned a great deal about what audiences need, want, and expect, which primarily boils down to four vital ingredients:
* to be informed,
* to be entertained,
* to participate in some way,
* and most of all to be inspired to take action.

Over the course of 32 years, remarkably, these four basic needs prevail.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Free vs. for Fee Speakers - Opening Keynote

Free vs. Fee Speakers
By Ed Rigsbee, CSP

When is it cheaper to hire a professional than it is to hire free speakers? The answer that many meeting planners would instantly offer is, never. I had an eye-opening conversation with the executive director of an association based in the eastern part of North America. If you answered the opening question the same way, hopefully, this will open your eyes.

The executive director said to me, "Ed, I discovered it was cheaper to hire you to speak for two days at my meeting than pay the travel and lodging expenses of the four free speakers that I was thinking of using." For many years now I have been conducting multi-day for single-fee programs, and still, his comment was truly an eye-opener for me.

In an effort to be accurate, I should share some additional details with you. First, the meeting venue is Maui, Hawaii and some of the free speakers would fly from eastern North America. Second, I offer multi-day programs eliminating the need for additional speakers.

Deliver Value vs. Fill the Void
Do the people responsible for particular meetings want to offer usable take-home value for the meeting attendees or do they simply want to fill a void? Last spring, a meeting planner hired me to present at her national fall meeting. Since I live in the Greater Los Angeles area, she suggested that I might want to attend her coming Western Regional meeting that was to be held in Los Angeles.

I took her up on the offer and arrived early enough to hear the keynote speaker, a local college professor of marketing. Following the keynote, I said to the meeting planner, "I thought your members were in industry." She responded, "They are." And then went into long discussion about how disappointed she was that the professor was so off-target for her group.

The Real Cost of Cheap
What percentage of the attendees from the above mentioned Western Regional meeting will rush to attend that same meeting the next year? What percentage will wonder if they again want to listen to an off-target college professor, who thinks he is addressing retailers but in reality is addressing industrial fabricators? How many potential following-year attendees did the professor lose for that meeting planner? Would this situation make your meeting appear to be shoddy or inferior?

Supplier companies love to send their representatives/salespeople to speak at conventions, as it is free publicity-even if they have to pay their own way. Sometimes the meeting attendees are lucky in that the supplier's speaker will be motivating while offering usable content. Sometimes they aren’t so lucky, especially when the supplier's speaker does not take the time (like the college professor mentioned above) to either understand the needs of the audience or plan an honest presentation. Too often attendees only get a sixty-minute commercial. After a sixty-minute commercial, what percentage of attendees will break down the doors to attend the following year?

What percentage of your other suppliers would also be outraged? How excited will they be the following year to belly up to the table and again pay more than their fair share for the meeting? Fair Share? Yes, suppliers always pay more than regular members. Associations justify the higher charge since they "get business" there.

Could the above combination of situations cost you 10 percent of your attendees the following year? And again cost you another 10% of the reduced number the year after that? And what about the following year? Could this be the reason for the downward spiral many associations are currently facing?

Saving with Professionals
Professional speakers live and die on their reputation. Please do not confuse celebrity speakers with professional speakers. Celebrity speakers get paid gobs of money to speak at a meeting, not because of their eloquence, but because of the average person's desire to be in the same room with them-to experience them live. Their job is exclusively to attract people to the meeting.

When I talk about professional speakers, I'm talking about the people that earn the lion's share of their income from speaking at meetings or conducting trainings and their related books, tapes, etc. These are the people who generally interview and research the issues and needs of their audiences and tailor or customize their proven material for each unique audience. These people are experts in their field or experienced sorry tellers or humorists.

These are also the people your attendees expect at their meeting. These are the speakers that deliver solid take-home content while also creating a motivating environment. They have to be exciting, motivating and funny-or they don't eat!

Keeping in mind all that has been mentioned above, why in the world would you settle for a free speaker? Especially, when that choice could be the most expensive. Don't your meeting attendees deserve the value they expect?

* * * *
Fellow speaker Ed Rigsbee, CSP is the author of PartnerShift, Developing Strategic Alliances and The Art of Partnering. Visit www.rigsbee.com.

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