• Connecting Speakers with Audiences™

event planning

Three tips for working with a sign language interpreter

Three tips for working with a sign language interpreter 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

If there is any chance that some of your audience members require sign language interpretation, you should make arrangements to have an interpreter work with you.

Follow these guidelines to get the most benefit:

  1. Share your remarks with the interpreter before the speaking event, so he or she will be familiar with the terminology you’ll be using and will be less likely to make misinterpretations.
  2. Ask the interpreter to rehearse with you at least once to ensure that your presentation will run smoothly.
  3. Speak directly to your audience during the presentation, not to the interpreter. Both you and your interpreter should connect with the audience members using both eye contact and a coordinated message.

Know the importance of the debrief

Know the importance of the debrief 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

We’ve become accustomed to requesting and giving feedback all the time. Order a meal in a restaurant, and one of the wait staff will ask if everything was to your satisfaction. Walk to a register, and a clerk will ask if you found everything you wanted. Purchase something online and … you know what’s next … you’re asked to review the purchase.

Many speakers miss one of the most important parts of their presentation – the debrief. I’m referring to that quick, 15- to 30-minute meeting with the folks who booked you, usually conducted a day or two after your presentation. The debrief is important for a number of reasons:

  1. You’ll have another chance to personally thank the event planner for hiring you, and you have another opportunity to build and maintain a positive relationship with him or her.
  2. You’ll receive important feedback on your presentation that you can use to make the next one even better.
  3. You’ll obtain more insight into what’s most important to the event planner. Use that information to promote your services for future events, highlighting the priority areas.
  4. You’ll learn if anyone has requested follow-up information about you or your topic, which can lead to additional networking and possible future bookings.
  5. You’ll have a conversation which may reveal other goals the event planner or company would like to achieve.

I recently heard about one speaker who used a debrief successfully to learn more about the client company’s vision and next steps. The speaker, who also had expertise that could be helpful in the client’s progress, was approached about returning to the company for another speech.

The speaker asked a series of well-phrased questions, which determined that only one more presentation wouldn’t be in the client’s best interest. Rather, the speaker suggested three shorter sessions with “homework” assigned in between planned speaking dates. Those three sessions led to much stronger results for the company, and the speaker was booked for additional work whenever possible.

A great presentation will please your client. A great presentation with a thoughtful debrief may delight you and your client.

Refreshments for your online meeting? It’s a (virtual) piece of cake!

Refreshments for your online meeting? It’s a (virtual) piece of cake! 2560 1708 I Need A Speaker

Serving food and beverages virtually is a trend that’s been welcomed in the online meeting/event/speaking world. Attendees love the surprise of receiving refreshments, as it helps to re-create some of the in-person meeting experience.

While you can’t network at a communal table, the availability of online gift cards, food delivery, and quick-ship retailers means you can “serve” everything from a plain cup of coffee to an entire meal.

If you’re sending electronic gift cards for coffee or tea, be sure to choose a national brand, so your attendees will find it convenient to use the gift card. If you’re sending coffee or tea to be made at home, your options are limitless. For something more substantial, conduct an online search for businesses that ship or deliver food. There’s something for every taste and budget, ranging from bagged snacks to sandwiches to full meals.

Now, all you’re missing is a lanyard with your name on it – but that can be arranged, too!

What speaker testimonials and product reviews have in common

What speaker testimonials and product reviews have in common 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

I’m one of those people who shop for the holidays early, and packages have already been arriving on my front porch. While browsing, I’ve made it a habit to check product reviews before clicking on “add to cart” and completing my purchases.

Reviews tell us what people liked and what people would change about their product or service experience. Customer feedback, whether positive or negative, helps businesses adjust products, prices, policies, and practices to satisfy customers.

Speakers can also benefit from requesting testimonials from satisfied event organizers and audience members. Most attendees are happy to complete a quick online survey following a presentation.

To encourage future bookings, speakers can post testimonials on their website, social media accounts, informational materials, and other customer-facing materials. Event organizers will benefit from knowing about speakers’ past successes as they plan future ones.

Can I interest you in some related material?

Can I interest you in some related material? 1707 2560 I Need A Speaker

When you complete your I Need A Speaker profile, you’ll be asked to choose a fee range. We’ve included “negotiable” as a response, because many speakers may choose to offer a somewhat lower fee – or even charge no fee at all – if they are allowed to sell services and products after their presentation. In an ideal situation, you’ll receive your full speaking fee and be allowed to promote your goods and services.

If you are in a position to offer paid consulting services or hope to sell a book, for example, check with your event organizer about sales and solicitation policies for the event in question. If the event budget is lower than expected, you may be able to use sales as a negotiation point. Engaging your audience and selling your products or services will likely increase your popularity as an expert and position you for top rates in the future.

Clarify and fulfill your value proposition

Clarify and fulfill your value proposition 1707 2560 I Need A Speaker

When event organizers contact potential speakers, they’re trying to determine if the speaker is a good fit. They want to be sure the speaker is affordable. They want to check availability and work out booking details. Although those are all important to learn, perhaps what matters most to the event organizer is the speaker’s value proposition.

As a speaker, what will you do for my organization and this audience?

That question is a critical one. Seasoned event organizers have specific goals in mind. Examples might be: teach new hires effective ways to close a sale; guide my organization through the process of improving our diversity and inclusion efforts; demonstrate good manufacturing processes for quality control; instruct the audience on ways to practice mindfulness. In other words, those planners know what results they are working to achieve. For best results, both the event organizer and speaker should in agreement about organizational objectives for the event.

If you’re a speaker with a strong value proposition, make it clear in your communications. In social media, on your website, and during personal conversations, don’t just list your areas of expertise or your credentials. Rather, state what value you’ll bring to audiences, and highlight past successes to reinforce your value. That’s what builds a positive reputation.

How speakers can use social media to increase bookings

How speakers can use social media to increase bookings 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Managed properly, your social media presence can help you increase your bookings. If you’re a speaker who is seeking connections with new event planners and audiences, follow these steps:

  • Keep your profile updated in the I Need A Speaker directory. Upload a current resume/CV or list of speaking engagements, and add information as needed.
  • Post samples of your work on YouTube, your personal website, SlideShare, Vimeo, or other platforms, so you can share a link with interested people.
  • Join and/or follow groups of speakers on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Be sure to comment on their posts and engage with them, so they become familiar with you.
  • Follow the groups and individuals who may be interested in the topics you discuss.
  • Keep your personal brand consistent across all platforms, using the same background/profile images, typeface (where possible), summaries, tag lines, etc. on each one.
  • Share images of yourself presenting to audiences.
  • Include client/audience testimonials in your social media content to demonstrate that you’ve had past success.
  • Mention upcoming events, tagging the organizations that booked you and promoting their work.
  • Direct people to your website or work samples with a URL.
  • Ask trusted friends, family, and colleagues to live tweet/post when you’re speaking.
  • Conduct pre- and post-surveys to measure audience satisfaction, and share the results online.
  • Write a white paper on your area(s) of expertise, and publish it on LinkedIn and your website.
  • Network virtually, expanding your scope of connections regularly.

Good luck with your promotional efforts!

Always do this one thing before presenting

Always do this one thing before presenting 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Years ago, I was working with someone who had all of the elements of a great presentation: a flawless outline; good, relevant content; a compelling, realistic call to action; active verbs; descriptive language; pauses in all the right places; excellent visual aids; and a passion for his topic. It would have been perfect, but he forgot one critical step: carefully proofread everything.

The speaker’s content, slides and handouts were focused on carbon monoxide and how dangerous it could be if leaked into a building. His call to action was a clear plea to purchase, use, and replace a carbon monoxide detector as needed to stay protected from this invisible, odorless killer. Yet all of his slides referenced CO2, which is carbon dioxide, a molecular compound that is necessary for the maintenance of life.

Instantly, his credibility was greatly diminished. Audience members looked to one another in confusion. He lost the audience’s attention and, to some degree, their respect.

Lesson learned. Always, always proof your materials. And if you’re not good at it, please ask for help from someone who is.

Seven benefits of speaking as a service

Seven benefits of speaking as a service 2560 1495 I Need A Speaker

A previous blog post talked about public speaking as service. Many people want to share their personal story, message, or expertise to benefit audiences, rather than just earn money. When speakers book events with a service-based intent, both the speaker and the audience benefit.

Whether you’re speaking pro bono for the common good or establishing yourself as a professional speaker, service-oriented gigs can help you obtain more bookings.

Seven valuable benefits of service-focused speaking are:

  1. You can practice your presentation skills with an audience. Their verbal and non-verbal feedback will provide valuable direction on how you can improve.
  2. You can promote yourself by sharing contact information, links to your website, and downloads of reference material.
  3. You can request testimonials or referral letters from meeting planners and attendees after the event.
  4. You can request referrals for other speaking engagements from satisfied clients and audience members.
  5. You can use surveys to measure the success of your program, then use that information in promotional content.
  6. You can mention your appearance on your website, blog, or social media feeds.
  7. You can distribute a news release, which may be seen by other meeting planners or organizations who may benefit from your presentation.

Virtual meetings have eliminated the need for travel, meaning your opportunities to reach audiences is unlimited. Consider speaking as service when booking speaking engagements, and everyone will benefit.

“We were missing out”

“We were missing out” 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

As I Need A Speaker grows, our team members often hear people use the phrase “we were missing out”. That’s often said in reference to disappointment that a committee was unable to identify and book speakers who were not within the committee members’ circle of personal contacts.

I Need A Speaker was created so no one had to miss out on sharing or hearing important messages, learning new things, and making a connection with others. It was created to do exactly what our tagline says – connect speakers with audiences. It was created to solve a problem in the best possible way.

Our goal, above all, is to provide a service that will enrich and delight the people who value sharing information as much as we do.

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