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Monday, September 18, 2017

Topic of the Century: Work-life Balance - Opening Keynote

Work-life balance -- the term is referred to so often, you'd think that most people know what it means. In my presentation I identify and expound upon the six supporting disciplines:

                            * Self Management
                            * Time Management
                            * Stress Management
                            * Change Management
                            * Technology Management
                            * Leisure Management

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Asked by Audience Participants - Opening Keynote

In seminars and workshops I offer on having more Breathing Space, invariably someone poses a personal dilemma: "No matter how conscious I am of saving time throughout the day, I still find myself racing the clock. What, if anything, am I doing wrong?"

My answer, consider that any one-hour activity you undertake in the course of the day, each day, will consume one solid year out of the next 24 years of your life. One hour is to 24 hours as one year is to 24 years. With this realization, consider the cumulative effects of reading junk mail for only 30 minutes a day or spending 15 minutes a day in line at the bank -- both of which could and should be avoided if you used mail, phone, or email services.

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Thursday, September 07, 2017

Notable Speaking Experiences - Opening Keynote

A World of Unusual Speaking Experiences!

In the course of speaking to 940 audiences around the world, I have encountered my share of unique engagements. For example, when I spoke to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department, every audience member was carrying a gun. Understandably, I felt compelled to give a great presentation.

At a leadership conference sponsored by the St. Alfonsus Regional Medical Center, I was introduced by a staff member, wearing skis, whose conclusion involved sliding down the stairs off the podium.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Ethics among Professional Speakers - Opening Keynote

Log onto any major search engine on the Internet, type in the word "speaker," and you'll get hundreds of hits. It's not difficult to identify speakers on all topics, from all geographic locations, of either gender, in all shapes and sizes, and at varying prices.

Of the 11,500+ speakers in the profession today, how many have a well-developed, written ethics policy and operating procedures that succinctly define their working relationship with bureaus? The answer: less than one in ten.

A Working Model
Here are two of 19 provisions, drawn from my own Code of Ethics and Operating Procedures:

1. We will not take on any speaking engagement if we have any doubt that Jeff Davidson is less than the best speaker that the client could retain for the engagement. When we say yes to a lead that you provide, you can be assured that Jeff is qualified and capable, and intends to give a presentation that exceeds the client's specific needs.

2. Our fees are consistent with what you would pay if you booked Jeff directly. We never raise client fees for bureau-generated engagements.

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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

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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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