• Connecting Speakers with Audiences™

speech

INAS Changes Business Model for 2024

INAS Changes Business Model for 2024 672 445 I Need A Speaker

Looking back, 2023 was an exciting, productive year of growth. I Need A Speaker continues to hit new milestones, changing the way speakers connect with audiences. And we’re doing it one person at a time.

I Need A Speaker was launched in 2020 to solve a problem. I was part of a committee to plan a speaker event. The committee had $1,000 to spend on a speaker, and the team was unable to identify the right speaker based on personal networks. Team members also knew that with just $1,000 to spend, we couldn’t afford to work with traditional speakers’ bureaus to find the right person for our theme, our event, and our audience. Traditional speakers’ bureaus often serve speakers who charge at least $5,000 for in-person events and sometimes $3,000 for virtual events. Then the bureaus add one-third of the speaker fee to cover their services in making the connection. Even at the lower end of their roster, we couldn’t afford any of those speakers. We were at a loss. The discussion around finding a speaker was futile, yet it lasted a painful three hours.

That day, I drove home from the meeting, wondering why there wasn’t a central place to connect qualified speakers at any fee range with the people who want to book them. So I built it.

For the first two years in business, I continually fought the association with any type of speakers’ bureau. I didn’t want my business model to resemble those in any way. In 2023, I participated in a tech business incubator program. As a participant, I was tasked with talking to speakers and event organizers to find out what they really want. I was surprised by what I learned.

Buyers told me that they wanted qualified speakers with the brand materials that reinforce credibility. In other words, people who book speakers want the confidence that comes with – at minimum – a speaker sheet and a sizzle reel. A speaker sheet is a single sheet that includes the speaker’s image, background, credentials, signature talks, and contact information. A sizzle reel is a brief video of the speaker in action, typically speaking before an audience. Some event planners call these materials social proof, and others refer to them as proof of performance. Regardless of the terminology used, planners agree that the materials are a basic requirement to consider booking a speaker.

Speakers told me that they wanted help elevating their skill set and developing their brand. They want to know how the public speaking business works. Often, they ask how to get started and move into progressively more desirable bookings. Speakers also said they view the value of services like those offered by I Need A Speaker are deserving of a 20% commission, paid from the speakers’ fee.

Based on what I learned in this process, I and my advisory board have implemented some changes to our business model.

  1. We will charge a 20% commission on bookings made through our website.
  2. We will offer training and branding packages for emerging speakers.

Our site and services will continue to evolve over time to continue delivering value to the people we joyfully serve.

Wishing you every success in 2024!

 

Photo credit: Image by Canva

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day; Mental Health Experts Encouraged to Share Information

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day; Mental Health Experts Encouraged to Share Information 918 410 I Need A Speaker

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, an annual event that focuses attention on the issue, reduces stigma, and raises awareness among organizations, government, and the public, giving a singular message that suicide can be prevented. Learn more about the effort here.

If you are a mental health subject matter expert, we encourage you to share helpful information that may prevent tragedy. A listing in our global, searchable directory will help event planners find you. Get a free, one-year membership this month with code AMPLIFY.

 

 

Photo credit: World Health Organization

How Queen Elizabeth II Made Speeches More Effective

How Queen Elizabeth II Made Speeches More Effective 1387 1920 I Need A Speaker

Several years ago, I had the privilege of seeing Queen Elizabeth II in person. A friend and I had traveled to London to see The Rolling Stones in concert, and the event date coincided with Her Majesty’s birthday celebration.

We joined thousands of people who lined the streets to get a glimpse of the royal family as the procession slowly snaked through the city. Pomp and circumstance highlighted the esteemed status of the royals, adding an element to the day that was reminiscent of a fairy tale. The feeling of love and respect for the queen was overwhelming.

When Her Majesty spoke to the beloved crowd, we saw a glimpse behind the castle gates. She would speak of international issues, share hope, and reference a vision for the future.

What made her speeches most effective were the personal anecdotes to which her audience – to which anyone – could relate. Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas 2021 speech was by far her most personal, as well as her most relatable. Here are some excerpts from her other noteworthy remarks.

If you want to make your presentations more memorable and reach your audience on an emotional level, follow the queen’s lead and share your personal stories.

 

 

Photo credit: Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

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.

Sources need down time, too. Plan interviews well in advance.

Sources need down time, too. Plan interviews well in advance. 1978 2560 I Need A Speaker

Plan early if you need to work with a source to plan your presentation. Like you, sources need their down time, too.

Schedule well in advance to ensure that the subject matter experts will have time to respond. They’ll appreciate your respect for their time, and you’ll have the information you need to plan your remarks early. Win, win.

Soon, it will be 2021. Does your speech reflect that?

Soon, it will be 2021. Does your speech reflect that? 2560 1920 I Need A Speaker

In just a few weeks, we will be (gratefully) welcoming a new year. As we say goodbye to 2020 and greet 2021, take some time to review your speech material. Do a refresh if your research and sources are too dated to be relevant.

Use credible online sources, primary research, and research librarians (unsung heroes in society) to update a tired presentation with current information. Don’t wait another minute.

Here’s one way to help stay connected with your audience

Here’s one way to help stay connected with your audience 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

During a virtual presentation, speakers can experience any number of distractions: emergency vehicles screaming past the window, an enthusiastic child with an urge to wave to your audience, and a barking dog are some examples. Some we can control; some we cannot.

One way to maintain focus on your audience is to enlist the help of a chat monitor – someone who can read and respond to the text messages that may pop up in the video call chat box while you’re presenting. A good chat monitor is a trusted resource to read messages, respond appropriately, and introduce the questions/comments at the right time in your presentation.

Too often, a speaker’s words may fade as they pause to read the comments, wondering if the audience remarks must be addressed immediately. At the least, the speaker’s eyes drift away from the audience when the chat becomes active.

Prevent distractions and stay focused by making one important addition to your presentation – the chat monitor.

How declining an opportunity can improve your credibility

How declining an opportunity can improve your credibility 1741 2560 I Need A Speaker

It’s exciting and flattering to be invited to speak, especially when the audience is new to you. But accepting may not always be a good idea.

If the opportunity is well aligned with your area of expertise and would introduce you to new, appreciative audiences, chances are that you should say yes if you’re available to present.

However, if you’re asked to speak on something about which you’re somewhat knowledgeable but not an expert, you could lose credibility in the long run. You may be facing a lot of research and prep time for a lesser-known topic, and it’s possible that you’ll dilute your reputation as the go-to resource for certain topics.

If a speaking opportunity is not a good fit for you, it’s a great idea to recommend another speaker who is an expert. He or she will be thrilled with the referral and may even return the favor someday.

And if you don’t know someone else who might be a good fit … please send them our way. I Need A Speaker will be happy to help the event organizer find the speaker he or she is seeking, and we’ll work hard to help find your next event, too.

Energize yourself and your audience

Energize yourself and your audience 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

If you want to energize your audience, you’ll have to energize yourself first.

Video call fatigue is very real, and it can be difficult for speakers and audiences alike to begin a presentation when they’re mentally, emotionally, or physically tired. We know this, but in times like these, we may not take our own advice.

Energize by walking outside, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and taking brief exercise breaks every hour. Even if you just stretch or take a short walk every 60 minutes, you’ll feel an increase in your energy level. And when you feel it, your audience feels it, too.

Observe. Learn. Evaluate. Observe again.

Observe. Learn. Evaluate. Observe again. 2560 1709 I Need A Speaker

Regardless of your level of speaking expertise, there is always some room to learn and improve.

Watching other people’s presentations is one way to self-evaluate, compare, and learn. Great speakers are literally at your fingertips. Type and search for names you know, or browse TED talks to seek inspiration.

When watching the presentation, consider these questions;

  • How does this speaker interact with his/her audience? How does the audience respond?
  • What resonates with you about the speaker’s appearance, style, and tone?
  • What would you do the same? What might you do differently?
  • How did he or she use visual aids, if at all?
  • If controversial topics or statements were included, how were they handled?
  • How were the speaker’s word choices, pace, and tone?
  • Did pauses add dramatic effect?
  • How, if at all, did the speaker use storytelling to make a point?
  • What are people saying in the online chat for the presentation?
  • Did the speaker have a powerful, memorable ending?
  • If you saw a panel presentation, did he or she interact with respect and diplomacy with others?
  • Did the speaker stay within the prescribed timeframe?
  • If you were an audience member, would you want to see this presenter again?

While constant comparison may not be necessary (and in some cases is advised against, allowing you to develop your own style), the practice of observation and evaluation is especially helpful for novice speakers.

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