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Friday, November 21, 2014

Speakers Who Eliminate Risk - Opening Keynote

“Consider the risks a buyer faces if the speaker he or she hires doesn’t fulfill the desired outcome,” says sales trainer Ron Karr. “I once received a call from a client looking to hire me. He talked about how he always holds his breath when the speaker takes the stage, because his neck is on the line. Now that is a risk.”

If a meeting costs a company $500,000 to produce, Karr notes, including travel, meeting location, food service, and so on, the meeting planner is under intense pressure to ensure the group has the best speaker(s) available to generate a proper return on investment.

The risks of the organization not achieving its overall objectives, such as a 10% increase in sales, or the attendees learning a set of skills or leaving with a renewed attitude, is considerable. So, what does a good speaker have to offer? A desirable outcome and return on investment.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Work With a Speakers Bureau - Opening Keynote

Key advantages of working with a speakers bureau include the following:

Should the situation arise in which you are not happy with the speaker's performance or any other aspect of your interaction with the speaker, you have a legitimate third party, the bureau, to handle your concerns. You are in a position of even greater leverage because it is in the bureau's best and long-term interest to ensure that you are happy. The bureau's loyalty is to you – you are the customer – not the speaker they assign to meet your needs. Some speakers never quite understand that, but the bureaus have a very clear understanding of who signs the checks.

In the rare event that the original speaker cannot make the appointed date, the bureau can more easily get you the right back-up speaker than if you face this task by yourself, especially at the last minute. Many bureaus require speakers to sign various pledges indicating, for example, that they will abide by certain travel expense limitations, not use offensive or off-color language, and so on. In this manner, working with the bureau affords many more protections than you might otherwise have when working with a speaker directly.

The bureau can also help enforce your policies regarding selling from the platform and engaging in other types of promotional behavior. A small percentage of speakers will flat out upset the tone of your meeting by using a portion of their time in front of your group to engage in aggressive marketing. The incidence of this happening when retaining speakers through a bureau is far less, and for the most part can be eliminated all together.

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Saturday, November 08, 2014

Low Savings, Increase Amenities - Opening Keynote

Last year most consumers spent all they were paid and then borrowed to spend even more. Nugget for meeting planners: include more amenities at meetings so that participants don’t end up paying more out of pocket.

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Monday, November 03, 2014

Creativity Counts - Opening Keynote

I know people who will take courses on topics completely out of their field, who try new dishes at restaurants, and who strive to keep themselves open to new ideas. The odd and wonderful thing is you can do all kinds of new and different activities in your personal life that will serve to stimulate your creativity at work, break free of attachment, and overcome the inertia of immobility when you want to get things done. Here are a few ideas:

At work:
* Take a planned 15-minute break twice daily
* Eat away from your desk
* Brainstorm with people not in your department
* Furnish your workspace with plants, pictures, or art that inspires you
* Learn some aspect of the organization that is completely foreign to you

Away from work:
* Change your magazine subscriptions
* Read a literary novel or epic
* Dress differently for different occasions
* Relax on your porch
* Install a hammock in your backyard

In general, to develop your awareness:
* Take an impromptu weekend trip to someplace you haven't visited
* Enroll in a course
* Join a book discussion group
* Volunteer at a charity
* Take up a new sport

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Anyone Paying Attention? - Opening Keynote

An illuminating article in the Atlantic offers startling news about what occurs on the other end of your conference calls. Here is an excerpt:

"A new survey from Intercall, the largest international conference call company, finds that when I occasionally zone out on conference calls, I'm participating in a national pastime, not unlike baseball. More than 60 percent of Intercall's respondents admitted to doing other work or sending an email while on a conference call. More than half the people on the line are eating (hopefully on mute). Just under half are in the bathroom (hopefully on mute!). One in five are shopping. One in 11 are exercising. Six percent are taking another call."

By implication, the issue likely extends to webinars as well. What this means for each of us is that we need to be highly compelling if not riveting to capture and hold the attention of the people on the other end of the line. Nothing less will do.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Coffee for Coffee Fiends - Opening Keynote

An astounding one half of all American adults spend $1000 on coffee every year. So, it appears that long and generous coffee breaks at conferences are likely to prove popular.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Powerpointless - Opening Keynote

Based on one study, what audiences find irritating about Powerpoint presentations:

   * speaker read the slides 60%
   * text too small to read 51%
   * text too wordy 48%

   * poor color choices 37%
   * moving text or graphics 25%
   * irritating sounds 22%

   * complex charts 22%

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