Sep 2001 issue - Article 2
8 WAYS TO MAXIMISE YOUR KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Here are eight simple ways to leverage your professional speaker at your next event. By following these points, you and your audience will get a lot more out of your speaker and you'll be a big hit when the event is done
1) Insist on a pre-event meeting to discuss your corporate messages, corporate culture and meeting theme. Work with your speaker to emphasise three key points ( no one really remembers more in a typical one-hour presentation ). Mention the type of audience. This can be critical in how the presentation is pitched
2) Do a pre-event walkthrough ( if the speaker is available, even better ) of the actual venue; checking the ambient lighting, view the audience will have, power points. Relay this to the speaker. There's nothing worse than having him turn up for light-sensitive presentation in some atrium complex with strong sunlight streaming in from everywhere. Powerful delivery of corporate messages is essential and an audience squinting at faint Powerpoint images on a screen in the sunlight isnt the way to do it.
3) Discuss your expectations and what the speaker can deliver. This avoids disappointment if he/she is not what you expected.
4) Have the speaker's presentation title dovetail with your event theme. So this is an upbeat, annual kickoff- type event , your speaker's lecture should also have a similar upbeat title, props and/or images to go with it.
5) Hype-up your speaker through in-house email, posters and such materials. Build some suspense and excitement as part of the event. When I made a keynote presentation on Commitment to the Process 2 years ago to a client, their design department made posters showing just a pair of blackened, frostbitten hands. The large headlines said something like:
" When Asked to Climb a Mountain, Few Are Willing to Lift a Finger.
Come and Meet Someone Who Gives Both Hands Up "
The poster might have been slightly shocking to some, but it was definitely arresting and intriguing.
6) Allow for a strong build up by working with your speaker to come up with an introduction which is a lead-in to his/her appearance. This is part of the programme! I made a mistake on one occasion by providing some clients with a one-page resume, assuming that they would paraphrase it as an intro. Instead, they merely read almost ad verbatim from the one-pager. This reduced the impact I would have made on my entrance.
On another occasion last year, Discovery Channel Networks' event host introduced me by wearing a parka and re-entering the spotlight in a flurry of fake snow from a hidden snow machine. What a difference it made to my punchy presentation! Every bit helps.
7) a rehearsal if the speaker is part of an ongoing all-day, all-week event is vital. There may be actual operational issues which might not arise until the speaker is on stage - by which time it may be too late to rectify any problems
8) an area dedicated to allowing your audience to meet the speaker at the subsequent tea break or after the event. This allows for the distribution or sale of complementary materials, video - further reinforcing your corporate messages. A handshake and a 5-minute face-to-face with a speaker can also subtly but powerfully strengthen the messages you want to project.