• Connecting Speakers with Audiences™

Audience Engagement

Practice Pronunciation Prior to Presenting (Say That Five Times Fast!)

Practice Pronunciation Prior to Presenting (Say That Five Times Fast!) 550 375 I Need A Speaker

By Tricia Richards-Service

I have attended far too many presentations during which a speaker didn’t take the time to learn the correct pronunciation of terminology or names.

Emcees have hesitated when introducing a main speaker, stumbling over the keynoter’s name.

Speakers have unsuccessfully tried – multiple times in front of their audience – to properly say an unfamiliar term.

Today’s advice is simple: Learn the pronunciation of unfamiliar words and names, and practice often before you speak. By doing so, you’ll appear well prepared, add to your credibility, and show respect for others.

 

 

Photo source: Canva

What I Learned Hosting the Hot Lunch Jam

What I Learned Hosting the Hot Lunch Jam 618 618 I Need A Speaker

By Tricia Richards-Service

When I was an undergrad at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, I was involved in every club and organization related to communications and journalism. I was president of Sigma Delta Chi, our student chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists. I was an editor on yearbook. I was an editor for the school newspaper. Perhaps the most fun role I held was DJ for the college radio station.

I delivered the news a few days of the week, and I hosted a weekly lunch program called the Hot Lunch Jam. I loved every second of it. Today, I’m so grateful that I ventured into radio, because it taught me to use more of a theatrical voice when speaking on a broadcast medium. Serving as a radio DJ doesn’t allow you to see your listeners, so you’re forced to keep up higher-than-normal energy levels, engaging people while they are driving, preparing dinner, exercising, or otherwise casually listening.

No one emulated this better than the late, great Robin Williams in the movie Good Morning, Vietnam. Watch the trailer here. The movie tells the story of an unorthodox and irreverent DJ named Adrian Cronauer begins to shake up things when he is assigned to the U.S. Armed Services radio station in Vietnam in 1965. His goal was singular: raise the morale of the troops serving there.

While most opportunities lack that drama, pressure, and grief, they are useful in developing the skill set needed to be an effective presenter. Public speakers often benefit greatly from experiences like appearing on radio shows or podcasts. Those guest appearances encourage speakers to enunciate more clearly, infuse their remarks with energy, and entice audiences to actively listen.

Speakers, if you are offered an opportunity like this … take it!

 

Photo source: http://wsyc-fm.squarespace.com/about-wsyc

12 Essential Questions Speakers Should Ask Event Planners

12 Essential Questions Speakers Should Ask Event Planners 318 228 I Need A Speaker

By Tricia Richards-Service

Are you gearing up to take the stage at an upcoming event? Whether you’re a seasoned speaker or new to the scene, thorough preparation is key to delivering a successful presentation. Central to this preparation is engaging with the event planner to gather vital details. Here’s a list of 12 essential questions every speaker should ask event planners:

  1. What are the event theme and presentation objectives? Understanding the core theme and objectives of the event enables you to tailor your content to resonate effectively with the audience and contribute meaningfully to the overarching goals.
  2. Who is the target audience, and what can you tell me about it? Insight into the demographic and psychographic profile of the audience (as needed) allows you to customize your message and delivery style to ensure maximum engagement and relevance.
  3. What is the expected duration of my presentation? Clarifying the allotted time for your presentation helps you structure your content appropriately, ensuring that you cover key points without exceeding time constraints.
  4. Who are the other speakers? Knowing the lineup of speakers enables you to complement their presentations seamlessly and avoid duplication of topics, fostering a cohesive event experience.
  5. What audiovisual equipment and support will be provided? Understanding the available AV equipment allows you to prepare and integrate visual aids effectively, ensuring a smooth and impactful presentation. Find out if a tech team member will be on hand to troubleshoot if necessary.
  6. Is there a preferred format for presentations (e.g., PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi)? Aligning your presentation format with the event’s preferences streamlines technical aspects and ensures compatibility with venue equipment.
  7. Are there specific topics or themes you’d like me to address? Incorporating suggested topics or themes demonstrates responsiveness to the event’s needs, enhancing the relevance and impact of your presentation.
  8. Will there be a Q&A session? Knowing whether a Q&A session is planned enables you to allocate time for audience interaction and prepare responses to potential inquiries.
  9. What should I expect in terms of compensation, travel and accommodation? Clarifying speaker fees, travel and accommodation arrangements ensures a smooth experience, minimizing challenges and allowing you to focus on your presentation. When you negotiate your booking, make note of special requests or needs, such as vegetarian meals, disability accommodations, and so on.
  10. What is the protocol for rehearsals or tech checks? Understanding rehearsal and sound check procedures helps you familiarize yourself with the venue and equipment, ensuring a polished performance on the day of the event.
  11. May I sell books, courses, or other merchandise? Requesting permission to sell merchandise such as books or courses allows you to capitalize on opportunities to engage with attendees beyond your presentation and generate additional revenue. Only plan to sell from the stage when you have written permission to do so.
  12. Should I plan for media interviews? When a topic is of popular interest or a speaker is especially well known, event planners will sometimes ask speakers to conduct media interviews, either before or after the presentation. Be sure you know the expectations, and prepare accordingly.

By posing these critical questions to event planners, you can establish clear expectations, tailor your presentation effectively, and ensure a seamless experience for both yourself and the organizers. Effective communication and collaboration with event planners lay the groundwork for a memorable and impactful presentation that resonates with the audience and achieves the event’s objectives.

 

Photo credit: Image by Canva

Situations Change. Deposits Shouldn’t.

Situations Change. Deposits Shouldn’t. 670 449 I Need A Speaker

By Tricia Richards-Service

Today I was talking with Sybil Stewart, a speaker, advocate, and TEDx organizer. We were discussing how important it is for speakers to charge a non-refundable deposit when being booked.

Experienced event planners and speakers, we know that situations change. Speaker rosters shift. Budgets shrink. Attendance may not be what was anticipated. And speaking engagements might be canceled as a result. We understand.

We also understand that the speaker had blocked off time which may not be scheduled with another client. In the worst case scenario, the speaker may have already completed the prep work.

As this is a relationship business, it’s important for both parties (speakers and planners) to feel comfortable and valued throughout the process.

Requesting a deposit will recover some of the income speakers may lose if an event is canceled or changed. The benefits go both ways. After a speaker is booked with a non-refundable deposit, that speaker is committed, even if another planner reaches out with a bigger budget. Win-win.

 

 

Photo credit: Image by Canva

Sometimes You’re Better off with More Than One

Sometimes You’re Better off with More Than One 650 508 I Need A Speaker

By Tricia Richards-Service

It’s true. Sometimes you’re better off with more than one. And it’s not just bowling pins, days off, or dollar bills.

There are times when event planners request one presentation when the audience might benefit more with two or three. Specifically, I’m thinking about anything that benefits from a follow-up session.

For example, a speaker is asked to address an employee audience about burnout mitigation. The employees might benefit from one presentation, but it would be so much more effective if the speaker offered techniques to handle stress, then checked in six weeks later. Or a personal finance expert talks to a group about setting up an emergency savings account. He or she could meet with the group a month later to hold people accountable, track progress, and move on to the next lesson. Another example is change management. One talk won’t guide an organization through a change, but four or six might help greatly.

These additional sessions work best in corporate and organizational/group settings. The speaker can capture a baseline status and return to the same participants to track progress.

Speakers and event planners, give thoughtful consideration when planning presentations with long-term lessons or behavioral shifts. You might have significantly greater impact with more than one.

 

Photo credit: Image by Canva

Know the Destination Before the Journey Begins

Know the Destination Before the Journey Begins 672 445 I Need A Speaker

By Tricia Richards-Service

Several weeks ago, I was contacted by an HR representative and asked to deliver a workshop on employee communications for her team. I asked what she would like me to cover. She said, “Just communications. Whatever you think should be included.”

It’s not uncommon that someone requests an expert to sit on a panel presentation, facilitate a meeting, or deliver a speech – yet not know what goal is in mind. I asked the HR representative for more details. Is there a problem? Has something changed recently in your organization? Are you facing specific challenges? Is this related to tech or generational communication? Do your problems have to do with clarity in business communication?

She had to think for a while and was still unsure. I suggested that we do a survey and figure out what the real issues are, and with that information, we can work together to solve them. Employees were very honest in the survey. As a result, we were able to begin the workshop with a review of areas for improvement, then work toward a plan to achieve the team’s goals.

Whether you’re a speaker or an event planner, give thought to your event. Ask yourself what you really hope to achieve. For example, instead of saying you’d like a wellness day for employees, you may want to focus on mitigating burnout. Or instead of requesting a speaker on finance, specify that you’re hoping to help attendees learn more about retirement options in particular.

Every journey starts with the destination. Clarify your goals, and the trip will be much easier.

 

Photo credit: Image by Canva

Discover the Light Bulbs and Dim Spaces

Discover the Light Bulbs and Dim Spaces 2200 1529 I Need A Speaker

By Tricia Richards-Service

I was talking with Mandolen Mull, PhD last week, and we talked about audience members’ frequent reluctance to ask questions.

I told her that, during previous presentations, I’ve often handed out index cards and golf pencils. I would collect and shuffle the cards for anonymity’s sake before reading the questions aloud.

She said, “I do something similar! I had cards printed with a light bulb on one side and an image of a darkened room on the other side.” I asked participants what their a-ha moments were, and where they were left in the dark.

This kind of feedback makes great workshops or presentations better and better. Great idea!

 

Photo credit: Image by Pexels

When Audiences Want More, Deliver!

When Audiences Want More, Deliver! 662 445 I Need A Speaker

During a coffee meetup with a new connection, I heard a great compliment about one of the speakers on our directory.

My coffee companion told me how impactful the speaker’s presentation was. “I could have listened to her all day,” she mused. “And when her talk ended, I was craving more.”

I explained that, depending on their contract/agreement with the event planner, speakers may not be able to sell from the stage. That means they are not permitted to sell courses, books, merchandise, or other commercial items.

So what can speakers do to give eager participants more? First, it’s important to check with the event planner to ensure policies aren’t violated. Second, ask the planner what is acceptable. Here are some ideas:

  • Invite participants to contact you with follow-up questions.
  • Offer something free for participants that is relevant to your talk. It may be a link to a longer talk that you’ve posted online. It may be a downloadable journal. It may be a list of resources to learn more.
  • Use a handout with more information.
  • On your closing slide, tell participants where you will appear next.
  • Mingle with the audience before and after your presentation to give them the opportunity to ask questions.
  • If you have a podcast or YouTube channel, include that on your narrative bio and final slide.
  • Announce an informal meetup with you immediately after the event concludes.

It’s important to engage with participants and answer their questions, and it’s also important to respect the policies of the event where you’re speaking. Ask what your options are, and be creative!

 

Photo credit: Image by Canva

Eight Ways Public Speaking Helps Build Your Business

Eight Ways Public Speaking Helps Build Your Business 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Tap your phone screen or flip open a laptop and search the terms “marketing” or “business growth.” You’ll get thousands of results pointing you toward digital marketing solutions, paid advertising, and sales tactics. Those are all basic elements of many successful marketing approaches. What few people recommend is one of the most effective tactics: public speaking. Let’s talk about why.

  1. Public speaking forces you to organize your thoughts.

Prior to making a presentation, you need to consider what you’d like to share. Ideally, you’ll have an introduction, three to five main body points, and a conclusion. When planning your remarks, you’ll be forced to organize your thoughts in a way that’s easy to share with others.

  1. Public speaking improves communication skills.

Press the “record” button on your phone before practicing your presentations. On playback, you’ll quickly discover if you’re using too much industry lingo or incorporating vague comments. Once you know where you have room to improve, you can make appropriate changes.

  1. Public speaking establishes you as a subject matter expert.

For best results, choose a niche and learn as much as you can about that particular, narrow topic. You’ll become known as the go-to person on that subject, which can potentially drive business your way.

  1. Public speaking allows audience members to feel your passion, enthusiasm, and dedication.

Potential customers or clients can read about you or visit your website, and they’ll come away more informed. Seeing you in person adds emotion to the mix, demonstrating your passion and commitment to your industry, business, and/or mission.

  1. Public speaking builds self-confidence.

Really, it’s true! So many people report feeling anxious (even terrified) about public speaking, but when you know your material well and present often, you’ll experience a stronger sense of self-confidence.

  1. Public speaking generates word-of-mouth referrals.

The combination of your expertise and enthusiasm will resonate with audience members, and they’re likely to tell other people in their network about you. This, in turn, will strengthen your reputation.

  1. Public speaking expands your professional network.

Think about it. People love getting to know other people who share the same values or ideas. They love talking about their work or industry with others who understand it. Prepare for LinkedIn invitations in your inbox after an effective presentation. Better yet – invite the audience to follow you, and see how fast you rack up new connections.

  1. Public speaking helps you better understand your customer or client base.

Allow for time after your presentations to answer questions. As people raise hands or step toward a microphone, you’ll begin learning what questions people have about your business or industry. Use these questions to help guide your communications plan. Maybe you’ll change hang tags or packaging. You may update your website. Or you’ll add a new vehicle to communicate with your customers.

Combined, these benefits pack a powerful punch. Grow your public speaking skills. Grow your exposure. And you’ll grow your business.

 

 

Photo credit: Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels

This Is the Best Way to Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

This Is the Best Way to Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month 695 472 I Need A Speaker

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, and there are so many ways to celebrate:

  • Try Hispanic foods
  • Attend a library program
  • Visit a museum
  • Read a Hispanic author
  • Learn to speak Spanish
  • Support Hispanic-owned businesses
  • Teach Hispanic history (to a class or to your own family)
  • Learn a salsa dance
  • Host a workplace lunch ‘n learn
  • Play iconic Latin songs
  • Start a book club
  • Watch a documentary or film
  • Listen to a podcast (we’re partial to LatinoUSA from NPR)
  • Donate to a non-profit
  • Create your own Latin art

These are all great ideas to keep you entertained and educated during the month-long celebration, but the best suggestion we have is to book a Hispanic speaker.

If you’re an event planner, use our searchable directory to help find the right speaker for your group. Create a free account to search the directory.

If you’re a speaker, join others in our global directory to help event planners find you. Celebrate this special month with a free, one-year membership during September when you use code AMPLIFY.

Keep heritage education going all year long. Register now.

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