• Connecting Speakers with Audiences™

subject matter expert

Sources need down time, too. Plan interviews well in advance.

Sources need down time, too. Plan interviews well in advance. 1978 2560 I Need A Speaker

Plan early if you need to work with a source to plan your presentation. Like you, sources need their down time, too.

Schedule well in advance to ensure that the subject matter experts will have time to respond. They’ll appreciate your respect for their time, and you’ll have the information you need to plan your remarks early. Win, win.

Soon, it will be 2021. Does your speech reflect that?

Soon, it will be 2021. Does your speech reflect that? 2560 1920 I Need A Speaker

In just a few weeks, we will be (gratefully) welcoming a new year. As we say goodbye to 2020 and greet 2021, take some time to review your speech material. Do a refresh if your research and sources are too dated to be relevant.

Use credible online sources, primary research, and research librarians (unsung heroes in society) to update a tired presentation with current information. Don’t wait another minute.

Here’s one way to help stay connected with your audience

Here’s one way to help stay connected with your audience 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

During a virtual presentation, speakers can experience any number of distractions: emergency vehicles screaming past the window, an enthusiastic child with an urge to wave to your audience, and a barking dog are some examples. Some we can control; some we cannot.

One way to maintain focus on your audience is to enlist the help of a chat monitor – someone who can read and respond to the text messages that may pop up in the video call chat box while you’re presenting. A good chat monitor is a trusted resource to read messages, respond appropriately, and introduce the questions/comments at the right time in your presentation.

Too often, a speaker’s words may fade as they pause to read the comments, wondering if the audience remarks must be addressed immediately. At the least, the speaker’s eyes drift away from the audience when the chat becomes active.

Prevent distractions and stay focused by making one important addition to your presentation – the chat monitor.

How declining an opportunity can improve your credibility

How declining an opportunity can improve your credibility 1741 2560 I Need A Speaker

It’s exciting and flattering to be invited to speak, especially when the audience is new to you. But accepting may not always be a good idea.

If the opportunity is well aligned with your area of expertise and would introduce you to new, appreciative audiences, chances are that you should say yes if you’re available to present.

However, if you’re asked to speak on something about which you’re somewhat knowledgeable but not an expert, you could lose credibility in the long run. You may be facing a lot of research and prep time for a lesser-known topic, and it’s possible that you’ll dilute your reputation as the go-to resource for certain topics.

If a speaking opportunity is not a good fit for you, it’s a great idea to recommend another speaker who is an expert. He or she will be thrilled with the referral and may even return the favor someday.

And if you don’t know someone else who might be a good fit … please send them our way. I Need A Speaker will be happy to help the event organizer find the speaker he or she is seeking, and we’ll work hard to help find your next event, too.

Energize yourself and your audience

Energize yourself and your audience 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

If you want to energize your audience, you’ll have to energize yourself first.

Video call fatigue is very real, and it can be difficult for speakers and audiences alike to begin a presentation when they’re mentally, emotionally, or physically tired. We know this, but in times like these, we may not take our own advice.

Energize by walking outside, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and taking brief exercise breaks every hour. Even if you just stretch or take a short walk every 60 minutes, you’ll feel an increase in your energy level. And when you feel it, your audience feels it, too.

Observe. Learn. Evaluate. Observe again.

Observe. Learn. Evaluate. Observe again. 2560 1709 I Need A Speaker

Regardless of your level of speaking expertise, there is always some room to learn and improve.

Watching other people’s presentations is one way to self-evaluate, compare, and learn. Great speakers are literally at your fingertips. Type and search for names you know, or browse TED talks to seek inspiration.

When watching the presentation, consider these questions;

  • How does this speaker interact with his/her audience? How does the audience respond?
  • What resonates with you about the speaker’s appearance, style, and tone?
  • What would you do the same? What might you do differently?
  • How did he or she use visual aids, if at all?
  • If controversial topics or statements were included, how were they handled?
  • How were the speaker’s word choices, pace, and tone?
  • Did pauses add dramatic effect?
  • How, if at all, did the speaker use storytelling to make a point?
  • What are people saying in the online chat for the presentation?
  • Did the speaker have a powerful, memorable ending?
  • If you saw a panel presentation, did he or she interact with respect and diplomacy with others?
  • Did the speaker stay within the prescribed timeframe?
  • If you were an audience member, would you want to see this presenter again?

While constant comparison may not be necessary (and in some cases is advised against, allowing you to develop your own style), the practice of observation and evaluation is especially helpful for novice speakers.

Choosing the wrong speaker is scary. Here are four ways to find the right one.

Choosing the wrong speaker is scary. Here are four ways to find the right one. 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Speakers set the tone for your event and are responsible for a significant part of your audience experience. There’s nothing like the thrill of booking someone who really connects with your audience and leaves a positive impression. But when they don’t? Yeah, that’s a scary thought.

Follow these four guidelines when choosing speakers for your next event:

  1. Start early. Consider the expertise and personality of the ideal speaker for your audience and occasion. Know what you want.
  2. When you’ve narrowed your choices, visit speakers’ websites and social media accounts. Watch any of the speakers’ videos you may find. By reviewing their online presence, you’ll get a good feel for their presentation style.
  3. Speak with your top choices to discuss your event goals, audience characteristics, and expectations. Determine if the speakers you’re considering are a good fit with your vision.
  4. Check references before booking anyone. Ask questions about the reference’s experience with the speaker during the planning stage, their thoughts on the effectiveness of the speaker, and feedback from the audience.

See? Not so scary anymore.

Happy Halloween!

When one area of expertise becomes two (Part 2 of 2)

When one area of expertise becomes two (Part 2 of 2) 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

In the last blog post, we talked about the benefits of identifying yourself as a subject matter expert in one particular area. Today, let’s talk about what happens when that topic becomes a “been there, done that” topic for you and your audiences.

By the time this occurs, you’ll have established yourself as a reputable source for information. A good way to maintain that reputation is to select a related topic and let your audiences, clients, and contacts know that you’ve got something new to offer.

While the two areas of expertise don’t have to be related, it makes sense to stay on a similar track, because you already know the public or client interest is there. Consider examples like this: a real estate development expert adds a talk on investing, a leadership expert creates presentations or programs on employee engagement, or an artist talks about selling his or her products online.

You have a lot to share, and so many topics to explore! Our best advice: start with one.

How one topic may lead to several bookings (Part 1 of 2)

How one topic may lead to several bookings (Part 1 of 2) 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

When completing your directory profile on I Need A Speaker, you have hundreds of choices in terms of subject matter expertise. We offer this many choices for a reason – we want to create a way for event organizers to find speakers on a very broad range of topics. But that doesn’t mean each speaker should offer talks on a broad range of topics.

Say you’re a marine biologist who has enjoyed developing unique, successful fundraisers for years. You’re definitely qualified to speak on both marine biology and fundraising. Or you’re a museum curator who has a strong following as a yoga teacher … a judge with a compelling personal story. You get the idea.

Today we’re offering a suggestion to the speaker who selects multiple, related topics in the hopes of being booked more often. This may be someone who has been in a managerial role for some time, and he or she selects marketing, management, employee relations, leadership, strategy, and sales. While you may be very competent in all of those areas, event planners are typically seeking someone who stands out as a subject matter expert on one particular subject.

When you specialize in one area, people associate you with that topic, and your reputation builds. By choosing fewer areas of expertise – ideally, one – you may be requested for more events. As a benefit, you’ll likely need less preparation time and can continue to deeply study that one topic.

In the next post, we’ll talk about what to do when you (and your audiences) are hungry for fresh content.

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