Time-sensitive information for Meeting Planners and HR Managers seeking proven strategies on how to effectively return to live, in-person meetings in 2022 and beyond
WARNING: After you read this report you will look at hiring a speaker for any of your events in a much different way than you did pre-COVID.
Fellow Meeting Professional:
Where do I even start? 2020 and 2021 were like a crazy episode of the old TV show, The Twilight Zone. I don’t need to recap the obvious, but let’s face it: The meeting and events industry took a MAJOR hit. Zoom fatigue is real and starting to set in. More and more groups are starting to add in-person events back onto the calendar due to association members getting restless and longing for in-person conferences and connections.
Now that groups are planning events again after an extended hiatus, several questions and sobering concerns still remain:
- What good speakers are still left that have a proven track record of results? Many speakers left the industry or retired. They couldn’t sustain their livelihood after being shut down for over a year and Zoom training fees are nowhere near what live fees used to be pre-COVID.
- What speaker can adapt their message to this new world we live in and truly connect with audiences without appearing to be out of touch or, even worse, boring?
- How in the world do we get people excited to attend a live event again? It’s like we’re starting over from scratch.
You’re reading a possible solution to the questions above. In this special report, I’ll reveal how I’ve helped hundreds of meeting planners over the past 17 years as a full-time keynote speaker and also from planning my own annual events for over a decade.
Two Key Updates of Interest You Should Know:
#1: We’ve been hosting our own live events safely and successfully during the past 12 months. This is rare. Yes, it’s very different doing live events now. We’ve discovered what’s working as well as how to get attendees and sponsors on board even with the fear and changing guidelines keeping most events idle.
#2: We have seen a noticeable uptick in meeting planners contact us directly to hire our team over the past few months. They’re ready to get moving again and know that supply and demand will become a big issue when all of a sudden meeting planners begin looking for an amazing keynote speaker from a greatly thinned pool of remaining speakers left in the industry. In addition, many of their members are restless, getting tired of Zoom, and want live, face-to-face meetings again.
I applaud you for doing something that smart people do when looking to solve a problem, challenge, or take their business to the next level: THEY TAKE ACTION.
To maximize your time and get the most from this report, I suggest you Sit down, turn off your cell phone for a few minutes, shut off your computer, lock your office door, and give me the next few minutes to share with you valuable information that can help you massively change the outcome of your next meeting or event. All you have to do is keep your mind open to new possibilities.
Why This Report was Created?
It’s really quite simple: To serve as a valuable guide to help you pull off stronger events now and in the future when employing a speaker as part of the agenda.
In addition, when the proper speaker is selected and positioned properly, the benefits are many, including time savings, better attendance, and happier attendees.
Buckle in and let’s get started…
FIVE KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN HIRING A SPEAKER FOR YOUR NEXT MEETING
#1. Is the speaker still relevant?
In today’s quickly changing and highly competitive marketplace, everyone is doing more with less. What may have worked just a few years ago in the “old economy” is probably not as effective today for a variety of reasons, which many of us know and can easily see.
For example, in the professional speaking world, many of the top and well-known motivational speakers from just a few years ago have seen their bookings and fees tumble over the last five years as meeting planners are looking for a new, multi-dimensional speaker that hasn’t rested on their laurels or past successes. Not only do companies seek a combination of fresh ideas and motivation, but they also want a speaker who can share ideas that are working today.
Another key area to consider when answering the question above is whether or not the speaker you are considering has current and updated references from other groups. I say this because a well-polished video of a speaker is much different than real world comments and video feedback from other meeting planners who’ve experienced a speaker’s live presentation with their group.
#2. Will the speaker provide additional take-home value after the event?
Is the speaker willing to add value above and beyond just a great speech? I ask this question because it’s known that most people will forget 90% or more of any talk, even if they enjoyed it, within 24-48 hours. To strike when the iron is hot is one thing, but to have long-lasting impact is an entirely different story.
I’ve assembled below a very helpful checklist of take-home resources to insure that you and your organization have the best possible chance of having the speaker’s message not only motivate, but more importantly, stick with attendees long after the event has concluded.
Take-home resources include:
• E-book or physical book
• Special report or white paper
• Print-out of their PowerPoint presentation
• Audio download or video of the event
• How to reach out to and engage with the speaker on their social media
• Ongoing articles you can use in your online and offline post-event communications
• Lists of and links to resources the speaker recommends or discussed
• Post-event conference call to answer and/or discuss questions from attendees
Remember, it never hurts to ask for more when booking a speaker and here’s why: Any speaker worth their billing should want to engage and stay in touch with not only you, but also those seeking to grow further.
In addition, another key area to consider is if the speaker is an industry outsider who can bring fresh perspective, or if they’re someone known in your industry who can draw people in based on favorable word-of-mouth. It’s not uncommon that a meeting planner will book a combination of both types of speakers to avoid possible boredom and to keep attendees engaged.
#3. Is the speaker’s message in alignment with your event goals and theme?
It’s amazing how many meeting planners blindly assume that a speaker will do homework on the industry or company before they take the stage. You’d be shocked how little this happens unless a plan is put in place before an agreed-upon deposit check is ever put in the mail.
Here are three quick pre-event action steps that savvy meeting planners insist on covering:
1. A pre-event phone call to discuss the top areas of opportunity and challenges within the industry, and how the speaker might best address those with their message.
2. Share past speaker success stories as well as the ones that didn’t go over well and why.
3. Inform the speaker regarding the makeup of the audience so they know if spouses or children might also be in attendance.
#4. Is the speaker a good presenter that keeps the audience engaged?
Let’s face it: We live a social media, celebrity-based world where people’s attention spans are about 9 seconds long on a good day. Shocking, but true. I know veteran meeting planners will understand what I’m about to say, and for a few of you reading this, I might burst your bubble.
The audience of today wants to be entertained, has a very short attention span, and wants to leave an event feeling good and that it was worth their time.
This is a very tall order, but it can be accomplished even if certain elements of the agenda, which may be dry or detail-oriented, have to be mixed in as part of the meeting requirements.
A boring speaker with tons of knowledge will often turn off an audience immediately, versus a great communicator with average knowledge and information. I know it may sound odd or even a little unfair, but I can tell you it’s 100% true.
How do I know? I get numerous speaking engagements and referrals within certain industries because the previous speakers are not only boring, but they also hurt the overall feel of the meeting as attendees tune the speaker out completely, sneak out of the room, or leave the event early. It’s no joke, and I’m sure many of you reading this have seen it firsthand.
In addition, if a speaker bombs it also impacts two key areas for future events:
1. Attendance and getting people to come back again
2. Sponsorships, as they seek a good ROI on their event participation
#5. Does the speaker have pre-event content and resources to help you generate excitement and get people registered sooner than later?
Here’s why this is an important question to ask: Audiences are seeking a speaker who possesses the rare combination of being engaging, motivational, and street-smart. This is not easy to find, thus the ongoing need and value that a professional speaker can and should be willing to bring to the table months before the actual event is set to take place.
Here’s another big shift in meetings that either hurts or helps with event attendance: Social media.
Today’s attendee has more research firepower at their fingertips than ever before. If you mention or promote a speaker, their book, or the focus of their talk, people will go online and research them to see if what this speaker is about is of value and to see what others have said about their program or message. Even if they like what they see, you have to continually stay in front of your attendees to remind them of the value the speaker brings. One of the best ways to build buzz and keep people engaged before an event is to drip relevant content both online and offline in relation to the speaker’s message and style.
Here’s a checklist to keep near you to help make this process easier:
• Video testimonials and pictures
• Custom video from the speaker promoting the event
• Memes to use and share via social media
• Link to the speaker’s blog and/or excerpts from their book(s)
• List of endorsements or awards/recognition they speaker has received
• Press releases and content from the speaker’s Facebook page
• Well-defined list of speech takeaways
I appreciate you making the time to sit down and read this, and I hope that you found it valuable. Please feel free to share this report with someone you know in the industry and, as always, reach out to our team anytime with questions.
For more information on Tony’s current keynote and breakout sessions please email: firstname.lastname@example.org