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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Handouts -- Paper -- Still Prevail - Opening Keynote

The demise of paper has been predicted for a century, but the end is nowhere in sight, and it quite okay to offer paper handouts at conventions, conference, speeches, and seminars.


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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Speakers: Free versus Fee - 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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Thursday, August 03, 2017

Rehearse in Front of A Mirror? - Opening Keynote

Many people ask if rehearsing in front of the mirror is a good idea. Doug Stevenson, noted speaker coach, says that it is not.

"Rather than looking outside of you to see what something looks like, look inside to discover what it feels like. Movement flows from intention. Every movement, gesture and inflection should be organic first, then choreographed."

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Speech Theme for All Time - Opening Keynote

In the Divine Comedy, Dante "sees that all crimes involve loving the wrong things: money, power, oneself or another's spouse."

What a powerful speech theme!

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Maintain and Enhance Your Reputation - Opening Keynote

Each time you retain a speaker to address your group, in many respects you're putting your reputation on the line. What if the speaker is ineffective? What if the speaker bombs? Worst of all, what if the speaker offends - or grossly offends - members of your audience?

You don't want to take a chance, and no one can blame you. You want to select the best possible expert for the program in mind whether it's a conference, convention, annual meeting, quarterly meeting, executive retreat, roundtable session, or any other arrangement. You want to be able to know, with confidence, that your staff or members, executive team, top management, owners, shareholders, or other constituents will be not simply satisfied with your selection, but pleased.

Now envision this. The evening before your special event, the expert presenter you have retained calls to say, "Hi. I arrived a few minutes ago and went immediately to the meeting room. I checked out the facilities, and everything seems fine. I'll be back at the room well in advance of my presentation tomorrow, rested and ready to go."

You put down the phone and think to yourself, "Thank you, thank you, thank you. Here is a speaker who takes care of the little things. Here is a meeting pro."

Next, imagine arriving at the meeting room, seeing that your presenter is already set up and is graciously greeting any early arrivals. Now you're thinking, "Here's somebody who goes the extra mile."

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Arise Early - Opening Keynote

One simple habit that leads to success according to Michael Masterson, interviewed in Bottomline Secrets, is to arise  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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Thursday, July 06, 2017

Now I Remember! - Opening Keynote

A falsehood that's been circulating for years holds that 55% of what we learn is through what we see and hear; 38% of learning is through what we see, and only 7% is through what we hear.  

These figures come from a study commissioned by a company that sells visual aids worldwide. For thousands of years, people passed information to each other by sitting around the campfire and grunting, and later sitting on porches and telling stories. Stories can be more powerful than any visual aid, and last forever in the minds of listeners.

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