Here’s why a flash mob is different: there’s not just one person or group participating, the ENTIRE ROOM is involved. People are doing something fun and surprising; the music is blaring and the camaraderie is instant. A feeling is created.
Planning an epic meeting means creating an experience of value for ALL attendees—from the newbies to the veterans. Everyone who attends needs to feel like it was the best meeting ever and that they got so much out of the event that they can’t afford to miss it next year.
Engaging in positivity and encouragement is proven to enhance both personal and business relationships. And happier people are more productive, more focused and ultimately more successful in all aspects of life.
By Brad Montgomery, CSP, CPAE
I’ve done a lot of speaking engagements in my 25+ years as a motivational speaker. And before I began my speaking
career, I was an entertainer — comedy and magic. I’ve been part of a lot of shows, events, luncheons, keynotes, after-dinner galas, you-name-it, I’ve probably done it. I’ve worked with tons of awesome meeting planners. I’ve become close friends with a huge number of them. Yet there are still some things many professional speakers are afraid to tell our meeting planners because we don’t want to be prima donnas. But I’m going to tell them to you now. Once you incorporate these ideas into your next event, guaranteed it will be better. As you’ll read, most of all we don’t want to come off as a needy egotistic jerks. But, having said that …
1. Treat Your Speaker Like a Prima Donna.
Ok, not the full prima donna. But remember that we’re prepping for a big presentation. YOUR presentation.
Here’s the problem…we KNOW you hate pain-in-the-butt speakers who need to be treated special, don’t want to be bothered with meet-and-greets, etc. And we don’t want to be that person. We don’t want be be a needy jerk. After all, it’s pretty hard to complain about our horrible workload when we’re working 60 minutes a day, right? (Especially since we know you’ve probably been up and working since 5 AM.)
But at the same time, we are being hired to burn bright like a star for our 60 or 120 minutes. And for us to be at our best for that short, focused time takes more energy than you might guess. (Mental and even physical.) And on top of that, we might be nervous, tired, jet-lagged, getting a cold, or dealing with some issue that we don’t feel comfortable revealing to you our our clients.
What does this mean in practice? It means that a little TLC can go a long way. It means you might encourage us to leave the meet-and-greet a little early so we can get our sleep. You might give us time to visit the hotel gym. You might understand that a bit of quiet time or a long walk is the way we prepare for your event. A little TLC might put us in that Supercalifragilistic mood that translates into an epic performance onstage and more ROI for your speaking dollar.
2. Follow Our AV Requirements.
I was recently at a huge conference when a totally terrific meeting planner complained about a speaker who
needed “a bunch of AV-crap, even though it’s just a 30 minute speech!” I laughed the “hee-haw” kind of laugh, the “wow-wasn’t-that-speaker-a-jerk” kind of laugh. But on the inside I was aghast. The truth was that I was too shocked (and too chicken) to tell the meeting planner she had it wrong.
We speakers are afraid to say, “Darn it! I don’t care if it’s only 5 minutes! If you want me to do what you hired me for, help me to get the stuff I need enable me to deliver.” Yes, we speakers understand the realities of limited budgets, and we like to do our best to help you live within them. But you’ve hired us to do our best. And if our best really does require an extra sound input, or having the computer in a certain place, or maybe even a light cue, why not just trust us and provide what we ask? You’ve already paid for the cake. You’ve arranged for the frosting. Why not just go all out and get us the birthday candles too? You might not even fully understand why this extra stuff will improve our performance; but we do. Trust us. (It’s also cool to ask: “I’m on a budget; is this particular expense worth it?” In my case, I’ll be honest and help you to make the choice. Seriously…just ask. I’m really great at helping you stay in budget we can strategize priorities.)
In my case, I’ve worked hard to appeal to many senses in my programs. I have some non-traditional powerpoint, sound effects, and sometimes even confetti. Non of it is crucial…heck, I can do it no matter what. (One time I gave my talk from the back of a truck…no…I’m not kidding.) But all of this “extra crap” is well thought-out, and adds to the impact of the presentation. All of it helps the program to engage your audience — which makes the message more sticky.)
3. Feed Us.
Sometimes we’re afraid to ask because we don’t want to be a bother.
This gets back to the “I don’t want to be thought of as a jerk” idea. (Remember, we’re trying to impress you.) Sometimes it’s a messed up sound check or a bad flight schedule that has us unable to eat prior to arriving at the venue. But we speakers get hungry too. We’re trying not to be a bother; sometimes we just need calories. So the offer of helping us score some chow might be more appreciated than you think. I’ve worked for planners who I KNOW think, “I’ve paid him enough; he can buy his own flippin’ sandwich!” It’s not the money. It’s the time and trouble that sometimes interferes with excellence.
Yes, we can just eat with the client. But sometimes it’s better for us to gather our thoughts and go over notes rather than fight the buffet line. Sometimes a box lunch would go a long way. A couple of apples and a couple of bottles of water to take up to our hotel room can be a life saver. (And pay HUGE dividends regarding improved performance.)
It’s sometimes impossible (or at least awkward) for us to ask you to get us a lunch. So asking if we need some help can pay huge dividends.
Recently I had an early sound check before a 9 AM keynote. There should be been plenty of time for me to
get breakfast after the soundcheck. But things were a bit wonky, and on top of that I was approached by the CEO who wanted to chat. A long chat…which I happen to love. All of this was fine…except that I didn’t have time to get food. My meeting planner saw the issue, and sent somebody to find me a bowl of oatmeal, a cup of coffee and a banana…. Brilliant! I ate it in the back 12 minutes before I hit the stage. I probably would have ended up going up on stage for 90 minutes without any fuel had she not treated me so well. Trust me when I say she got WAY more value out of me because of the oatmeal!
Take my advice and give your next professional speaker a little TLC. What you might get back is an rock star performance that makes you look like the genius!
Call today for a free consultation!
Brad Montgomery is a motivational speaker, corporate consultant,, husband, father, US citizen, Colorado resident, soccer player, roller hockey player, and down-right good guy. He’s been motivating and entertaining audiences for over 25 years, and is a Certified Speaking Professional, a designation given by the National Speakers Association to less than 5% of their membership. He was recently inducted into the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame — an elite group of professional speakers that includes only about 130 living members worldwide. Brad motivates groups on topics such as motivation, leadership, team work, and productive positive cultures. Find out more about him at http://www.MontgomeryPresents.com
It’s a failure to plan ahead for the (sometimes necessary) boring parts. Let me explain:Here’s another cool idea about how to make your meeting or convention more epic and more awesome. Here’s what I want you to do when you plan your meeting.
Running an informational event is an effective way to draw businesspeople to your organization. This opens a lot of opportunities both for you and your company as you gain the chance to expand networks to people who have similar mindset and business goals as yours.
Competent organizers assure that your event runs smoothly. But, if you’re a startup, it’s quite illogical to hire a professional event planner, budget or capacity-wise. This leaves the task of ensuring the success of the event to you and your team; that’s why it’s important to know the important elements.
Time is an essential factor in planning events. Start making drafts and outlines ahead of time. Cramming is stressful and makes you more prone to committing mistakes. Make a schedule of the whole plan and try to stick to it as much as possible. It also pays to make plan B’s in case things get out of hand.
Part of proper preparation is giving enough time to market your event and invite people. You can’t just notify people days before the event. Most businessmen are busy with their own matters, which is why you need to give enough time for them to adjust their schedules. Social media is a powerful weapon in marketing so maximize its function and advantages.
Food and Beverage
Aside from the information you’ll share, guests are more likely to expect good food and drinks. Plan how many guests you’re expecting and allot a few extras to avoid having a shortage in supplies. Providing the right food and beverage that satisfies your guests makes it easier to discuss business right after.
Most importantly, you should present your guests with value. Make sure they’ll get what they came or paid for. This can have an impact in your future events, as more people may attend next time if they know that you provide quality knowledge. If you’ll ask for a high ticket price, make sure you’ll deliver.
It’s never easy to organize big events. But, here at Brad Montgomery Productions, Inc., we’ll provide you more than just motivational speeches and presentations. We’ll partner up with you to make sure you map out a successful event plan and make it happen. With us, you’ll hire the right motivational speaker that’ll set the tone and pump up your guests throughout the event. Call us today and get a free consultation.
Hey, it’s Brad Montgomery. I’m back with another story. So if you’ve been watching, you know that I bring in stories from the road and lessons that I learned from the road to share with you so that we can all learn and make better, more epic, more awesome conventions and meetings.
Well here’s what happened. I was just at this event, and one of their top people, a vice president, could not make it. This vice president had prepared a 25-minute speech, which undoubtedly was going to go long anyway, but couldn’t make it physically. There was some travel problem. All right, so what did they do? Instead of putting him up, they let him record on his web cam a Skype recording and then play this horrible web cam recording for 28 minutes live at the conference. They took 500 people from all around the country, they flew them, they fed them, they housed them, they put them in this valuable time slot, and they chose to take that time and have him show the most boring presentation ever from a Skype web cam recording. Oh, you could almost hear the cell phones coming out of their pockets as they load up Facebook. It was just a complete loss.
In the enthusiasm that had already been started at meeting was gone and the speaker that had to follow that dude, he was another industry speaker really had his work cut out for him because they were completely disengaged. They were the opposite of what we want.
So, all right, what are the lessons? First, you know this right? Don’t play a recording of one of your insiders from this web cam. Don’t do that. Just don’t. But here’s the other part that’s more subtle. The meeting planner was stuck with a pretty awkward position. Undoubtedly, this vice president said, “You know, well I can’t be there, but I’d like to use my time anyway and so I’ll send you a video file.” And the poor meeting planner probably was reporting, you know, this person was up the chain from the meeting planner and it was an awkward place. That dude put her in an awkward place and should not have done that.
But what I would tell a meeting planner is, one, get a little buy-in. The president was there. There were other c-level people there. Talk to them and say, “Here’s the problem. Here’s what this person wants to do. I don’t think it’s a good idea. In fact, I think it’s a horrible idea,” and then you can go back to the vice president with support and say, “We have looked at the options and we have decided that it’s not the best use of our time and that you would be better served, and more importantly your people will be better served if we wait and do it next time in person.” But what I’m saying is you have to make those tough choices, but protect your meeting. No matter what, protect your meeting. Understand that 25 minutes of crappiness isn’t just 25 minutes of crappiness. It’s like an anchor that was pulling the whole boat to a stop. Got it?
All right, my name’s Brad Montgomery. If you have questions about how to make your meeting a success, one of the cool parts about my job is I have literally been to thousands of meetings. I’ve been at thousands of events. I’ve seen a zillion great ideas, and I’ve seen two zillion bad ideas and my job is to share some of them with you. All right, bradmontgomery.com. Thanks. Have a great day.
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