How to Hire The Right Speaker & Get Your Money’s Worth

Audience Applause

The clearer you are about what you expect, the easier it is for your speaker to do a good job.

You’re planning your company’s next meeting and you want everything to be perfect. You’ve got a location, theme, and date. The next thing to do is to hire a professional speaker. How do you choose the right speaker? And after you’ve found a speaker, is there anything you can do to help ensure that their program meets your expectations?

Here’s a checklist: (more…)

How to Add Value as a Speaker: Make Meetings Fun and Exciting

How to Add Value as a Speaker: Make Meetings Fun and Exciting

Executive Speech Coach Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

Executive Speech Coach Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

By Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

Business leaders: If you want your associates to be creative, innovative, and flexible, make your meetings fun. Here are three examples.

Professional speakers: Learn from the creativity of your clients and get involved.

A QUIZ SHOW – Before I spoke at a small meeting for USA Today, the organizers conducted a “quiz show.” This was a great icebreaker and also served to educate their employees, using questions like: “Who writes the editorial column on page 3?” “What is our distribution in Cleveland?” “What was the headline on the Life Syle Section last Tuesday?” Small prizes like USA Today pens and note pads were awarded. This got the audience laughing while learning (and had the audience fully warmed up when I came on).

THE PRIORITIES GAME – Another time I was speaking at Levi Strauss. There were six tables, each with eight sales people. Each table received copies of the same thirteen examples of typical paperwork that crosses a salesperson’s desk each day. They then debated the priority for handling them. This was a great way to find out how the sales people thought and for management to teach them priorities. I was as amazed as management was at how many different opinions there were on handling the same thirteen items.

“OSCARS” – A Pacific Bell meeting was held around the time of the Academy Awards. The creative meeting planner set up an awards ceremony and asked the managers to wear formal evening dress. This sounded so creative to me that, even though my speech was later in the day, I wanted to be part of it (at no extra cost to the client). “Oscars” were given out in categories like customer service, sales, and money-making ideas. Wearing an evening gown, I sashayed across the stage to deliver the envelopes containing the names of the winners. As the nominees in each category were announced, a giant video screen showed their photos. The first two were always famous movie stars, the third an employee. Would you believe it? Pacific Bell employees beat out the movie stars every time! Everyone who accepted an Academy Award had to give a short speech. It was innovative, memorable, and fun.

This gave me the idea for my fifteenth speech for the Continental Breakfast Club (CBC). The year before, my talk had been “Wonder Woman: A Mythical Character or State of Mind?” which I delivered wearing my Wonder Woman costume.

One of my more creative clients, Dan Maddux, Executive Director of the American Payroll Association, heard about my Wonder Woman performance and booked me to do a similar presentation at his next conference, called “Are You a Wonder Woman or a Superman in Payroll?” (more…)

Communicate Your Expectations: Eliminate Meeting Planner’s Nightmares

It never ceases to amaze me. Association meeting planners spend money to hire me, publicize my presentation, pay my expenses, and then set up obstacles to my success. Of course they don’t do it intentionally, but all too often roadblocks are put in my way that prevent me from giving the best customer service. How does this happen? Being in the communications business, I believe that it is a result of missed communication signals — the association meeting planner and the speaker are speaking two different languages.

For example, what the speaker considers essential for the restful night preceding a presentation is often seen as “prima donna” requirements by the meeting planner. The speaker asks for assurances that the hotel room be quiet, away from the elevator or ice machine, and not located just above the cocktail lounge. The meeting planner thinks this is being too particular and merely reserves a room in the hotel. When the speaker arrives at the morning presentation bleary eyed and “out of sorts” because of lack of sleep, the meeting planner may question his or her decision about the speaker’s room selection. Who is to blame? Could it be a lack of communication? (more…)

Using American Speakers for International Groups

Are you planning out-of-the-country meetings? Here’s how to score when speakers and audiences speak different languages.

Now I finally know why my speaker friends are so interested in working abroad. It can be a very positive and rewarding experience, even when the speaker and audience speak different languages.

Knowing all the difficulties, I had usually turned down such jobs. But in November of 1998, I spoke at three public seminars and four in-house meetings in Taiwan, a total of seven Chinese-speaking audiences. It was such a triumph that I can’t wait to go back. Here is what you can do to help your speakers have a similar success. (more…)