Category Archives: Event Planners

6 Top Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Keynote Speaker!

6 Top Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Keynote Speaker!

Want to have the best Keynote Speaker at your next event?  Dr. Daren Martin shares how you can assure that happens by asking the “right” questions!  You will also see some of his helpful tips that you can use to evaluate the answers you receive!

Q 1  Do you tailor your keynote to the audience and industry or have a set keynote you use for everyone?

I have seen many canned talks that did not resonate with the attendees of the conference. A little research goes a long way in delivering a keynote that is on point and resonates with everyone present. Every industry and organization has their own language, pet peeves, challenges, and opportunities that need to be taken into consideration.

Q2   Are you available throughout the day or only during the time of your keynote?

It can be a great value add if the speaker is around before the keynote (to familiarize themselves with the group) and after the keynote to connect, answer questions, etc.

 Q3  Are you also available to do a workshop or breakout following your keynote?

Some topics may benefit from a deeper dive with the speaker in a more intimate fashion. I have done this many times and it is a great way to expound on a topic.

Q4   Are your books available at a discount to our audience or for vendors and exhibitors as a possible sponsorship.

Books are a better takeaway than cheap tchotchkes. You can drive traffic to a location by having them pick their book up at the designated spot signed in advance by the author or at a designated time with the author present.

Q5  Do you have a follow up reinforcement piece we can send following the conference?

A meaningful follow up video or handout reinforces the ideas shared in the keynote.

Q6  Are you willing to do a brief video to make available to our attendees about your involvement at the event?

The right video can get attendees fired up about the conference and create energy around the keynote and/or attract attendees to the conference when attendance is optional.

By asking these top 6 questions you can generate a relationship with the speaker and let them know what you as an event planner and decision maker expect them to bring to your audience so that it is a successful and less stressful event!

After 20 years of running his own business and consulting Fortune 500 companies, Dr. Daren Martin uses his international experience to motivate your audience to “Create a Culture of Service.”   Dr. Daren’s thought leadership and change strategies in transforming companies earned him the title “The Culture Architect.”  He is a best selling author of multiple business books, including: A Company of Owners: Maximizing Employee Engagement and the hand drawn/written, Whiteboard: Business Models That Inspire Action, as well as Beached Whale: Learning to Swim in the New Ocean and The Sink: Radical Transformation with One Small Change.  In addition, his new book to be released soon is: Think/WOW: Customer Service that WOWS!  To book Dr. Daren for your next event call
888-766-3155 today.

Event Planning And The Scourge Of Round Banquet Tables

Event Planning And The Scourge Of Round Banquet Tables

By David Deeble

Let’s be serious for a moment: audiences should be seated facing the speaker.

Imagine a photographer going from round banquet table to round banquet table taking pictures of people without asking anyone to turn around and face the camera. To do so would be absurd. But it’s no more absurd than introducing a speaker or entertainer when much of the audience – by virtue of the fact that they’re sitting at round banquet tables – still have their backs squarely facing the podium or stage.

Before introducing an entertainer or speaker to the stage, take a page from the photographer playbook and request that those whose backs are to the stage to at least offer the presenter their profile.

This and a few other simple changes very often make the difference between an audience which is engaged and one that is not.

Return to daviDDeeble.com or learn how a head injury forced me to reinvent myself from a conventional to a comedic juggler.

David Deeble’s career in comedy began at the age of 8 when he joined the Long Beach Mystics, a now-legendary magic club in Long Beach, California. There, he was schooled relentless
ly in the importance of being a polished entertainer – not just a magic act. After opening for such comedians as Ray Romano and Kevin James, David made his debut as the variety star in “Bare Essence” at Harrah’s, Lake Tahoe. From there, he began making numerous appearances on American television including “America’s Got Talent,” “Last Comic Standing,” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on which he performed his trademark grocery-sack juggling routine. To Hire David as your next Entertainer, click here or call 888-766-3155 to book him!

How To Ruin Your Event

How To Ruin Your Event

By David Deeble

There’s lots of ways to ruin an event. Let’s talk about ruining the entertainment portion, especially if you have gone with comedy.

With any type of live entertainment there is a relationship between the audience and the performer. Nowhere is this more pronounced than with comedy entertainment which, when performed at the highest level, is much more like a dialogue than a monologue. The audience might be able to chat amongst themselves and still enjoy a rock band, but not so with, say stand-up: to be successful the craft requires an audience that is totally engaged.

A professional, experienced and talented comedian knows when an audience isn’t with her and will prattle, prod and engage an audience until she knows they are focused and only then will he get to the heart of her act and the business of making them laugh.

But how, you may ask, can I make a comedy entertainer’s job as difficult as possible?

Let’s say you’re a professional event planner or someone who is otherwise responsible for planning an event for your company. You’ve done your homework and found a comedian who is accomplished, a pleasure to work with and perfectly suits your needs. Now the question is, what can you do to thwart this his remarkable talents and years of experience and make everyone in attendance uncomfortable at the same time?

Here are a few simple things you can do to ensure that the delicate, essential bond between an audience and a comedian is tenuous at best or, better yet, never established in the first place.

• Schedule The Entertainer Immediately After A Break

The room is pumped. The most-popular, hardest-working guy or gal in the company has just received his well-deserved award from the CEO and the energy in the room is at its peak. Whatever you do, don’t harness the audience’s energy by immediately introducing to the stage the entertainer you’ve budgeted a sizable sum to procure. Instead, have the CEO, emcee or whoever has the floor to announce a break “of about 15 minutes”. That should be enough time for the room to deflate, the energy vanish and allow the stragglers to head back into the room and settle into their seats while chatting with their fellow fellow employees about golf plans for the following weekend.

• Seat The Audience At Round Banquet Tables

For the love of God, you’re not going to ensure that all the seats in the audience are facing the stage, are you? No, no, no. When an entertainer walks on stage you want roughly half the audience facing the back of the room. That way more people will be able to tell when the line for the open bar is down to only a few people. You might also consider leaving the doors in the back of the room open, allowing those seated with their backs to the stage to “people watch” the smokers, stragglers and maybe even catch a glimpse of that woman from the coat check with the ineffable aura about her. Ideally, you want these people who face the back of the room to be completely unaware of what is going on on the stage. Think muzak.

• Serve Food During The Show

When a world-class comedy entertainer and a mediocre salad go head to head, the salad wins every time. Anything requiring utensils is best – after all, people are capable of enjoying a comedian with finger food like popcorn just as they are capable of enjoying a movie. Of course, it never hurts to have hard-working servers bustling from table to table pouring water, grinding pepper and sending that steak back to the kitchen until it’s done right.

• Arrange For A Large, Empty Space Between The Stage And The Front Row

Nothing is more conducive to an attentive, engaged audience like seating them as close to the stage as possible. There’s an intimacy to this seating arrangement that mimics the openness and rapport of an private conversation. This is why you want a large empty space surrounding the stage. Many venues place a small stage against the wall of a large banquet hall and surround it with a large, empty dance floor: this is the ideal way to ensure your money and reputation go to waste. Nothing sends the the audience the signal “You have nothing to do with this performance” quite like seating everyone no less than a metric mile of the edge of the stage. This way audience members can chat with each other throughout the show while feeling – wrongly – that it has no impact on the overall performance.

The above are just a few basic, feng-shui examples of how to ruin the entertainment portion of your event. The truth is, there are almost as many ways to ruin it as there are second-rate entertainers to ruin it for you.

Do you know other ways to ensure that entertaining at your event is as uphill a battle as possible?

David Deeble’s career in comedy began at the age of 8 when he joined the Long Beach Mystics, a now-legendary magic club in Long Beach, California. There, he was schooled relentless
ly in the importance of being a polished entertainer – not just a magic act. After opening for such comedians as Ray Romano and Kevin James, David made his debut as the variety star in “Bare Essence” at Harrah’s, Lake Tahoe. From there, he began making numerous appearances on American television including “America’s Got Talent,” “Last Comic Standing,” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on which he performed his trademark grocery-sack juggling routine. To Hire David as your next Entertainer, click here or call 888-766-3155 to book him!

The Strategic Fit – Building Relationships with Speakers’ Bureaus

The Strategic Fit – Building Relationships with Speakers’ Bureaus

By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM

This is the final piece in a three-part series recapping a conversation I had with Sue Falcone, Founder and CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau on how planners can strategically build relationships with speaker’s bureaus. The Strategic Fit - Building Relationships with Speakers' Bureaus

This is the final piece in a three-part series recapping a conversation I had with Sue Falcone, Founder and CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau on how planners can strategically build relationships with speaker’s bureaus. Part one introduces the value of the speakers’ bureau, and part two talks about event speaker trends.

Christy: What do you do about speakers who speak from scripts and are reluctant or unwilling to adapt the message to an audience?

Sue: It’s essential to make sure every client gets a unique and custom experience. Audiences will not accept “canned” presentations, although once that was the norm.  Every speaker search I do starts with a thorough questionnaire for the speaker and the planner so that I know exactly what is expected from and needed from both sides.  It doesn’t matter how many times I have worked with a client; every piece of business must be earned.  Fresh, relevant material is a must and that means adapting to the audience.

Christy: What do you say to those who think they can’t afford to hire a speaker or to those who would prefer to simply book directly?

Sue: I focus on creating an experience from the initial contact, so fees are not the first thing we discuss. I want to know what the client is looking for and what the goal is for bringing in the speaker. From there, it’s my job to find solutions and secure a speaker they like and need.

As for being able to afford my services, there are a few key points to keep in mind. Always ask if the bureau’s fees are paid for by the client or the speaker as it varies by organization. At Remarkable Speakers! the speaker pays for the booking, so there is no cost to the client for utilizing my services. It is also important to know that the speaker fees we quote are not marked up to cover the fees the speaker pays us.

The additional thing to keep in mind is the expertise offered by the bureau. After listening to what the client wants, I make initial recommendations, factoring in not just the speaker’s content but their style. It has to be a good fit at every level. No one has time to waste, so working with a pro means only seeing speakers who meet your needs, style and budget. Watching clips on You Tube and searching the net for speakers can take hours and may not lead you anywhere.

Christy:  Planners are so often in ‘go’ mode that they forget to stop and consult the experts. It’s a good reminder that help is available and that the service providers will likely do a better job than we could. Thanks for that quick reality check!

Sue: I think we can all fall into that trap sometimes! To continue: as for budget: I never apologize or shy away from the cost to book a speaker. Some of the best advice ever given to me that I live by was: “when quoting fees you should be able to do it without blinking an eye. Do it with confidence, facts, and commitments.”

That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for negotiation.  Both sides need to walk away feeling good about the partnership. I can work with both parties to create mutually agreeable terms.  I love the “thrill of the hunt” and closing deals. After booking thousands of speakers I have tons of creative ways clients and speakers can find middle ground.

Christy: My friend is a speaker. Why do I need one of yours?

Sue:  Now, more than ever, everyone thinks they are a speaker, or knows someone who is! I always thank my clients for the opportunity to “earn their business.” Often, when looking for a speaker, initially, people do not know what they want. Even if they have a friend or colleague in mind, it’s a good possibility they still are looking for suggestions. I find that many times after a few questions, the client is not quite as sold on their friend as it might have first appeared.

Knowing the speaker has advantages but does not guarantee it’s the right fit. I ask questions about what they are looking for in their speaker, and does their friend have all need to have a successful event. I share key things to look at; great video clips, an active and engaged social media presence where you can see reviews and testimonials, and what their marketing materials look like to see how fresh, current, and relevant their speaker is. I make sure they think through the ‘why’ around choosing their friend as the speaker.  It’s important to remember that the impact of choosing the best speaker reflects on them.  I want my clients and potential clients to be seen as “rock stars” for choosing the perfect speaker and having a successful event. Sometimes their friend may be their speaker of choice.

To me it’s about helping people make good decisions so even if we don’t book a speaker, I am still thankful for creating a relationship that can be developed for future business. The other opportunity is for me to add a new speaker to my roster as we are always looking for Remarkable Speakers!

A huge thanks to Sue for her time, expertise, buoyant personality and wisdom. I speak to many people each day and few have Sue’s remarkable spirit, candor and enthusiasm. I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I had speaking to her. To continue the conversation, leave a note in the comments section below, find me on Twitter: @SMEChristy or email me: Christy.lamagna@strategic.events.

CEO, Sue Falcone, recognized the need for a speakers bureau that would represent professional speakers, and provide the perfect speaker for clients who sought the best for their events with a personal “hands on” custom touch.

From a former corporate executive, to becoming a professional speaker and author being hired, and creating a distinctive and unique speakers bureau representing speakers for hire, she gained the experience and expertise needed to give a full service experience.

 

What’s Trending in the Speaking World?

What’s Trending in the Speaking World?

By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM

Event strategists always start with the end in mind. They know the core principle in strategic planning is that all actions and decisions must support the event goal. When it comes to choosing speakers, it can be easy to get distracted by celebrity status or choose topics that may be personally interesting but not right for your target audience. Engaging the professional skills of a speaker’s bureau allows you to add an expert to your team at no cost to you, saves time and will potentially introduce you to people and topics you may not have otherwise found.

When it comes to choosing speakers, it can be easy to get distracted by celebrity status or choose topics that may be personally interesting but not right for your target audience. Read on to discover, what’s trending in the speaking world?This is the second in a three-part series recapping a conversation I had with Sue Falcone, Founder and CEO of Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau (you can see Sue’s smiling face in the photo shown above). Our goal was to explore how planners can strategically build relationships with speaker’s bureaus. If you missed the first installment and want to see the first article, please click here.

Christy: What changes are you noticing when planners call to book a speaker?

Sue: At one time, my relationship was exclusively with planners operating in a silo, meaning there were no other people for them to run ideas by or to get suggestions from. Now planners are part of a much larger team. Having more people making the decision translates to needing to provide more options as each person has an opinion or vision on the topic and/or presenter needed. I once shared three potential speakers for consideration before someone was selected. Now I find myself presenting up to eight candidates before a decision is made. As a bureau that is focused on helping clients meet their goal, it’s crucial to adapt to their changing needs and timeline to provide the best service possible.

Christy: What is one thing everyone should know when booking a speaker to get the best fit?

Sue: As is the case with all things strategic, the goal is the key. First, I need to know what the speaker is expected to accomplish. Then I find out what the necessary audience takeaways and outcomes are. Not everyone can put their goals into words, so I created a detailed questionnaire to help the process. Sometimes people know how they want the audience to feel after hearing the message but can’t articulate what the message itself should be. We specialize in finding and delivering what you ask for and sometimes even what you don’t know how to ask for!

Christy: I’ve noticed lead times to plan are getting significantly smaller. Are you seeing that too?

Sue: Absolutely! We are getting requests with very short time frames for the search to be done yet the same level of quality is expected.

Christy: In an ideal world, how far in advance should planners start looking for a speaker?

Sue: After the event goal is established and a budget is confirmed, the speaker search should begin. The speaker is often the main draw, so the process shouldn’t be rushed. To do the job correctly, it takes a lot of time to search the options before we can propose the perfect match. We need to find speakers who match not just the topic’s parameters but are also a good fit for the audience/corporate culture, have the right personality, attitude, and of course, price. We need it to be the right fit on all counts or it doesn’t work.

Christy: Are you finding speakers are becoming more flexible in tailoring their topics to the audience?

Sue: I’ve booked over 3000 events and work to make each experience custom to the client’s needs. That includes making sure speakers are willing to adjust their content based on who will be listening to them. Today’s audiences consume tremendous amounts of content daily and are incredibly savvy. They will not accept “canned” presentation. One size does not fit all.

Christy: It seems that this is part fact-based and part intuition in terms of pairing speakers to audiences. Is that right and if so, how do you make that work?

Sue: When first contacted to provide a speaker, I gather detailed information from the client, so I have the background I need. Like I said, it’s not just the topic, the personality and style have to be a good fit. I do my homework in advance and get a sense of who the hiring organization is. I get a sense of their culture, their expectations, what has and hasn’t worked for them in the past and what their goal is. That way when I pick up the phone, I know who I’m looking for and what we need to achieve.

Additionally, my speakers must complete a comprehensive questionnaire before signing with me. This gives me a wealth of information at my fingertips, which saves time, avoids confusion or miscommunication and allows me to be the best at what I do.

Thursday, Sue and Christy finish their conversation, during which they discuss, among other things, how to build a partnership with a bureau.

CEO, Sue Falcone, recognized the need for a speakers bureau that would represent professional speakers, and provide the perfect speaker for clients who sought the best for their events with a personal “hands on” custom touch.

From a former corporate executive, to becoming a professional speaker and author being hired, and creating a distinctive and unique speakers bureau representing speakers for hire, she gained the experience and expertise needed to give a full service experience.

Looking for a Quality Speaker? Put Your Money Where THEIR Mouth Is!

Looking for a Quality Speaker? Put Your Money Where THEIR Mouth Is!

By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM

All event strategists know that content is king, so when we bring in outside speakers we need to do our homework and recommend wisely. As is the case with all things event strategists do, their actions yield the highest quality results that align with the event’s goal. In this instance, an accredited speakers bureauAll event strategists know that content is king, so when we bring in outside speakers we need to do our homework and recommend wisely. As is, the case with all things event strategists do, their actions yield the highest quality results that align with the event’s goal. In this instance, that means reaching out to an accredited speakers bureau and leveraging their expertise.

For those who are not as calibrated in their process, an internet search for ‘motivational’ or ‘professional’ speakers may start the process. Perhaps a visit to YouTube for clips of speakers is the preferred route, with an obligatory click on cute puppy videos along the way. For some a query to colleagues gets the ball rolling.

While both methodologies may result in booking the same speaker, not all paths are equal. For those who opt to do the legwork and cut out the middleman, the road is longer, uphill and full of bumps. Speakers’ bureaus are like Convention and Visitors’ Bureaus; at your disposal, designed to make your job easier, staffed by professionals and not fully utilized or understood.

It is critical to remember how we are offended when other people think they can do our jobs. Let’s not be guilty of that same mistake by imagining that if we can search the internet we can find a speaker just as well as a professional can.

To better understand why a professional speakers’ bureau really is the way to go, I interviewed Sue Falcone, founder and CEO of, “Remarkable! A Speakers Bureau.” Here’s the first of three excerpts from our in-depth and enlightening conversation.

Christy: Why should I use a speakers’ bureau rather than find a speaker via Google or references?

Sue: I believe that communicating what speakers’ bureaus really are, and the value they bring is key to being able to be the “go to” resource for securing the best speaker for an event. Here are three questions we ask perspective clients:

  1. Do you want to save time, money and resources?
  2. Do you want peace of mind with less stress knowing your speaker is going to be remarkable and you will be a rock star for choosing to work with a speakers’ bureau?
  3. Did you know that speakers’ bureau fees are paid by the speaker – not you – so therefore all the time and services a speakers’ bureau provides is free to you?

Christy: Is it more expensive to use a speakers’ bureau?

Sue: Cost is the biggest concern about the perception of using a speakers’ bureau. Many bureaus structure the pricing so their commission comes out of the speaker’s fee. Speakers are willing to pay the bureau out of their speaker’s fee to cover the representation, negotiations and follow up work.

To note: some bureaus do charge a fee, so ask up front whose responsibility it is to cover booking fees.

Christy: What is the difference between one speakers’ bureau and another? Are you all selling the same thing?

Sue: Many speakers’ bureaus have become “speaker listing bureaus” rather than ones who actively work to secure events for all speakers they represent.

Christy: What should an event planner – or a speaker – look for as differentiation in a bureau?

Sue: I have a screening process and require the speakers I represent to sign an agreement as to how I will represent them, and what we agree to do. Knowing they are marketable and are booked through my bureau they not only represent themselves, but also my company.

Did you enjoy Looking for a Quality Speaker? Put Your Money Where THEIR Mouth Is!? Check back in on Thursday, May 10th for part 2.

CEO, Sue Falcone, recognized the need for a speakers bureau that would represent professional speakers, and provide the perfect speaker for clients who sought the best for their events with a personal “hands on” custom touch.

From a former corporate executive, to becoming a professional speaker and author being hired, and creating a distinctive and unique speakers bureau representing speakers for hire, she gained the experience and expertise needed to give a full service experience.

We Love Event Planners!

stress1Event planners have a hard job! They are either full time professionals that keep putting on those super special events that everyone loves to attend without looking tired or stressed; or they are charged by others to be an event planner, even if they have never done it before, and/or have another job as well!

Either way we love you because we want to serve you and make your job and life easier, and you want us to being the magic that will make your event memorable, satisfy your audience, make you look like a “rock star,” and help you handle the stress and mess!

Love being partners with the many planners that we have worked with over the years, and we want to keep on top of your needs to make your job easier! We see a bright future for both of us, because even though the internet is a great learning tool, it is not for everyone! So we know you will always be needing those heavy content bringing speakers and presenters, that engage and interact, in the shortest amount of time, and entertain your audience into learning the outcomes you have given us to fulfill!

Hats off to you Event Planners, you have the #5 most stressful job in America, just under being an airline pilot, and still you wake up every day knowing this is what you love doing!  We love serving you and helping you in any way we can, and thanks for letting us know how we can better work together forever, because we love what we do too!

Off to meet with our next event planner, and seeing how I make her day brighter and better!

Sue Falcone
Sue Falcone