• Connecting Speakers with Audiences™

audience

Five Ways to Prevent Speakers from Exceeding Their Allotted Time

Five Ways to Prevent Speakers from Exceeding Their Allotted Time 934 868 I Need A Speaker

By Jeannine Luby, Marketing Communications Consultant

Few things cause event planners as much stress as speakers who exceed their allotted time. An organizer of an all-day civic training was once heard saying, “Oh, I didn’t know Sue was going to share her whole story. We’re already way behind schedule.”

An event organizer should never be surprised by how long a speaker is going or by the content of the presentation. Naturally organizers don’t need to be familiar with the entire presentation, but there should also not be any big surprises.

Five Ways to Prevent Speakers from Exceeding Their Allotted Time

  1. Provide a clear duration, along with details about how the speaker will be notified when their time is almost up. Don’t be vague by saying things like, “You have about 45 – 60 minutes,” or “Go as long as you like.”
  2. Use visual cues like a timer that you place in the speaker’s line of sight.
  3. Employ audio cues, just as celebrity awards events do. Begin music to “play them off the stage.”
  4. Ensure someone is responsible for keeping speakers on track.
  5. Plan breaks to absorb potential over-runs and allow for flexibility.

If the above do not work, consider taking the following more active interventions:

  • Flicker the lights.
  • Wave from the back of the room.
  • Step on stage with a microphone to announce that your speaker has 30 seconds to finish their final point to honor everyone’s time by keeping to the planned agenda.

Most speakers will understand your desire to satisfy your audience with the best possible event.  If you allow one speaker to run long, the entire schedule will be pushed back. That leads to dilemmas like shortening the break time or removing it altogether or asking the next speaker to shorten their presentation.  Both options seem unfair and take value away from your audience.

That’s all the time we have for today … please join us again!

 

Photo source: Canva

The Right Speakers Help Fulfill Your Conference Promise

The Right Speakers Help Fulfill Your Conference Promise 710 370 I Need A Speaker

By Jeannine Luby, Marketing Communications Consultant

If you’re new to planning a conference and unsure what will satisfy your audience, take time to learn about them.  Tap into journalist energy by asking and answering these questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

  • Who is your audience? Is your event for a group of professionals who all do the same job, i.e., engineers, nurses, or teachers? Is your audience a bit broader, covering a particular industry? For example, healthcare can include everyone from nurses to hospital administrators, to claims and billing professionals to physician office managers and beyond.  Is your audience broader yet, encompassing individuals or organizations dedicated to the liberal arts or to nonprofit organizations?
  • What are the shared pain points of the audience? What do they need support with?
  • What is the draw of your event that will make it worthy of their time and their financial investment?
  • How will you deliver on your promises?

One way to deliver a valuable conference, training or other event, is to hire the most effective and appropriate speakers, so do your homework. Find out as much about your audience and their needs as possible before planning your event.

Once You Have a Clear Picture, Reach Out to the Experts

When you determine what purpose and function your event will fulfill, ensure that you have qualified speakers who can deliver—within your budget. Seek the expertise of I Need A Speaker to help you curate a gallery of qualified speakers and experts who will not only meet your audience’s needs, but who will deliver in an engaging way.

Once you’ve selected your speakers, clarity is essential. Be clear when communicating your expectations.  If hospital leadership says they have dire staffing issues with nurses exiting their profession and they need an effective strategy with incentives to keep them, communicate that to the speakers you contract. Discuss the purpose of the event in detail and what role each speaker plays in it.

Be sure that each of your speakers addresses a different pain point and brings a unique perspective to the stage. Your audience members do not benefit from hearing the same presentation over and over—with minor tweaks or different personal examples—like they’re stuck in the movie “Groundhog Day.”

This article published in February 2019 on Forbes.com offers additional insight on choosing the right speakers to help you make your event a real blockbuster.

 

 

Photo source: Canva

Leave Them with Satisfaction

Leave Them with Satisfaction 764 447 I Need A Speaker

By Tricia Richards-Service

I’ve lost track of how many times I have seen the Rolling Stones in concert. However, what I do remember is how much fun each event was. I remember taking pre-show selfies with my nephew, dancing with my friends, singing along with my brother, and eventually bringing my kids with me to share the experience. Ours wasn’t the only family with multiple generations in tongue-logo T-shirts, eagerly awaiting the start of the show. We saw thousands of people ranging from age 8 to 80-plus, all caught up in the infectious energy.

When you prepare to take the stage as a speaker, give thought to who will be in your audience and what experience you’d like them to have. What will they remember? Is it your Tony Robbins-like energy? Is it a powerful message? Is it practical ways to make a change? Is it hitting the punch lines just right, getting laughs when you want them?

Do your research in advance and know who will be there, then plan your presentation accordingly. Leave them with satisfaction.

 

Photo source: https://nj1015.com/the-rolling-stones-are-coming-to-new-jersey-with-2024-stadium-tour/IMDB

Q&A Sessions: Tips for Speakers to Shine

Q&A Sessions: Tips for Speakers to Shine 664 439 I Need A Speaker

By Tricia Richards-Service

Question and answer (Q&A) sessions are often the make-or-break moments of a presentation. While delivering a prepared speech is one thing, handling spontaneous inquiries from the audience requires quick thinking, diplomacy, and clarity.

Mastering the art of Q&A sessions not only showcases your expertise but also strengthens your connection with the audience. In this blog post, we’ll explore some valuable tips for speakers to handle Q&A sessions effectively and leave a positive, lasting impression.

Prepare Mentally: Before your presentation, anticipate potential questions that might arise based on your topic. This proactive approach allows you to prepare thoughtful responses in advance. However, remain flexible, as unexpected questions are inevitable. Mentally prepare yourself to stay calm and composed regardless of the nature of the queries.

Listen Carefully: During the Q&A session, actively listen to each question. Give the audience your full attention, maintain eye contact, and avoid interrupting. Listening carefully not only ensures that you understand the question but also demonstrates respect for the questioner and the audience as a whole.

Clarify if Necessary: If a question is unclear or ambiguous, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Politely request additional information to ensure that you address the query accurately. Clarifying questions not only help you provide relevant answers but also prevent misunderstandings.

Repeat the Question: After a question is asked, repeat it aloud for the benefit of the entire audience. This serves two purposes: first, it ensures that everyone hears the question clearly, especially in large auditoriums or virtual settings. Second, restating the question gives you a few extra seconds to formulate your response coherently.

Structure Your Responses: Organize your answers in a clear and structured manner. Begin by briefly summarizing the question to provide context, then proceed to address the main points concisely. Avoid rambling or going off-topic. Structure your responses to be informative, relevant, and easy for the audience to follow.

Be Honest and Transparent: Authenticity is key during Q&A sessions. If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit it gracefully. Offer to follow up with the questioner later or suggest credible resources where they can find more information. Being honest and transparent fosters trust and credibility with your audience.

Manage Time Wisely: Keep an eye on the clock and manage the Q&A session’s duration effectively. Allocate sufficient time for questions while ensuring that the session doesn’t overrun. If necessary, politely inform the audience when you’ll be taking the last question to maintain control over the proceedings.

Handle Challenging Questions with Diplomacy: Not all questions will be easy or favorable. When faced with challenging or confrontational inquiries, respond diplomatically and tactfully. Avoid becoming defensive or dismissive. Acknowledge the validity of differing viewpoints, and strive to address concerns respectfully, even if you disagree.

End on a Positive Note: As the Q&A session draws to a close, express gratitude to the audience for their participation and insightful questions. Reiterate key points from your presentation, and conclude on a positive and uplifting note. Ending the session on a high note leaves a lasting impression and reinforces your message.

Successfully navigating Q&A sessions is a valuable skill that enhances your effectiveness as a speaker. By preparing mentally, actively listening, structuring your responses, and maintaining authenticity, you can handle Q&A sessions with confidence and finesse.

Remember, Q&A sessions are opportunities to engage with your audience, showcase your expertise, and build rapport. Embrace them as integral parts of your presentations.

 

Photo source: Canva

Aren’t we all speakers?

Aren’t we all speakers? 2560 1920 I Need A Speaker

I Need A Speaker is on Clubhouse! Hosted by Tricia Richards-Service and Christopher Pahoski, the room was open for people who want to learn more about getting started in public speaking.

Some people have said, “I’m not a speaker. In fact, I’m rarely in front of an audience.” We responded that the size of the audience isn’t as relevant as the opportunity to deliver value to people.

When you make a presentation in your department meeting … you’re a speaker. When you make a toast at a special occasion … you’re a speaker. When you respond to questions in a job interview … you’re a speaker. If you have a message to share … you’re a speaker.

You get the idea.

Whether we are involved in a one-on-one conversation, a small group meeting, or a conference, we all have the opportunity to collect our thoughts, consider our audience, and deliver value.

 

We’d love to hear examples of how information was powerful because it was shared. Send your stories to info@ineedaspeaker.com.

 

 

Photo credit: Pexels

Public speaking notes from Dale Carnegie

Public speaking notes from Dale Carnegie 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

“Thinking people want to be led, not driven. They want to have the facts presented and to draw their own conclusions. They like to be asked questions, not to have a ceaseless stream of direct statements poured at them.”

— Dale Carnegie, Public Speaking for Success

 

 

We want to lead, not drive. What topics do you want to read about in our blog? E-mail info@ineedaspeaker.com with your suggestions.

 

Photo credit: Pexels

If someone yells “bingo,” no one wins.

If someone yells “bingo,” no one wins. 2560 1920 I Need A Speaker

Recently, I attended a high school graduation. Many of the graduates were giddy with anticipation about the speeches that were scheduled. The students weren’t excited about how wonderful the speeches might be. Rather, they were playing a secret bingo game.

The proverbial winner was the audience member who could mentally cross off enough buzzwords or overused terms during the presentations to win the game.

I was familiar with the concept, because I knew about “corporate buzzword bingo” games during my days in corporations. Employees would anticipate terms like “low-hanging fruit” and “having a dialogue” and “sense of urgency.” Sadly, we knew exactly what to expect when someone stepped up to the podium.

The graduation bingo game happened for the same reason. Students were expecting some speakers to include boring, predictable elements and terms that are often used in graduation speeches. Here are some examples of what students used for their virtual bingo card squares:

  • Reference to 2020 as “unprecedented” (this one was the center square)
  • A dictionary definition
  • Famous quotes
  • “It’s been a crazy year”
  • Reference to homework
  • Inside jokes
  • Reading a poem
  • The idea that “this is not the end, it’s the beginning”
  • Acknowledgement of “each and every one of you.”

Students would snicker and laugh silently whenever one of these elements popped up in a speech. While I Need A Speaker never advocates finding fault with speakers, the fact that the bingo game occurred should be considered a warning to anyone who has a speech to deliver.

The warning is this: Don’t be predictable. Don’t be boring. Don’t say what’s expected. Don’t say what every other speaker says.

Flip that to the positive side, and the lessons here are:

  • Be original.
  • Be engaging.
  • Be clever.
  • Be unique.
  • Be attention-grabbing.
  • Be dynamic.

In short … be effective.

 

 

 

Photo credit: DepositPhotos

Check the link. An error can lock out your audience.

Check the link. An error can lock out your audience. 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Dafna Gold Melchior – one of our wonderful speakers – recently posted this on LinkedIn. With her permission we’re sharing this message:

“Check the link. Double check the link. Otherwise you could discover that your esteemed guests were sent somewhere else…

I delivered a workshop last night, on behalf of an organization. 150 people signed up via a production company, which sent them an invite with a link. I was in the Zoom room early, checked sound and share screen with the helpful tech person.

At a few minutes to the hour, we started wondering why no one was joining… Turned out the production company had mistakenly sent the wrong link…

By the time I too was sent the (wrong) link my audience had received, there were 8 people left (5 with cameras off). So three lucky people received my workshop, and I assure you I gave them my all, as I would have with 150 participants.

I’m sharing this to spare you the same frustrating experience. I beg you, have those who handle logistics on your behalf check and re-check the link.”

Follow her advice.

 

Photo credit: Pexels

Give thanks all year long.

Give thanks all year long. 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Even if you’re the only person who worked on your speech, many people contributed to its success.

Thank the event planner who selected and prepared you.

Thank the person who introduced you.

Thank fellow panelists and other speakers, if there are any.

Thank your sources for helping you collect relevant information.

Thank your audience members for their time and attention.

Thank everyone else who contributed.

Your acknowledgment of their efforts will be remembered.

What if I become emotional during my presentation?

What if I become emotional during my presentation? 1707 2560 I Need A Speaker

A recent speech by Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson was lauded for its authenticity and effectiveness. During the speech, which lasted less than six minutes, Sorenson detailed the impact that the pandemic has had on Marriott’s staff and business. This brief presentation earned praise and admiration for Sorenson not only as a leader and presenter. Why? Because he showed his human side. He demonstrated empathy and sincerity.

As a public speaking coach, I have asked people to tell very personal stories, forcing them to dig into their hearts and memories to share intimate pieces of their lives. And when they do, they absolutely shine. They succeed because what they’re saying is deeply important to them, and these speakers have the credibility of a lived experience.

Often, speakers worry that they’ll become emotional while presenting, as Sorenson does. To some, they feel they have failed as a presenter. They believe everything has to be perfect and that becoming too visibly emotional will make them vulnerable. I remind them that it’s okay.

Some topics are just harder to talk about than others. If you’re sharing an emotional story or presenting about a topic that makes you sad, wistful, angry, regretful, or any other emotion we don’t often share with a room full of strangers, remember this: Emotion connects us in powerful ways. Your audience will relate to you on a new, deeper level, and the people who hear your story will remember it.

These tips may help the next time you tackle an emotional topic:

  • Take a moment if you become too emotional while speaking. Breathe. Then keep going. Don’t let emotion cut your speech short.
  • Realize we all feel these emotions; it’s not just you. Your audience relates to what you’re saying.
  • Practice several times to prepare for the more emotional moments in your presentation, and work on delivering those messages powerfully and at a reasonable pace.
  • Bring tissues. You may not need them, but it’s good to be prepared.

You got this.

    Privacy Preferences

    When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in the form of cookies. Here you can change your Privacy preferences. It is worth noting that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we are able to offer.

    Click to enable/disable Google Analytics tracking code.
    Click to enable/disable Google Fonts.
    Click to enable/disable Google Maps.
    Click to enable/disable video embeds.
    Our website uses cookies, mainly from 3rd party services. Define your Privacy Preferences and/or agree to our use of cookies.