Category: Professional Speaking Tips

What Meeting Planners and Organizers WISH Speakers Understood

what meeting planners wish for

Do you want to want meeting planners and organizers to call YOU, instead of waiting for a Call for Speakers to be posted and competing against the masses? Do want to be their automatic ’go to’ option? Then listen up because this is something that they just wish you ‘got’ as a speaker.

I have had the privilege of being the Marketing Chair for the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) in Toronto for the last few years, as well as being the host of multiple speakers showcase events and in that ‘meeting planner’ capacity I have worked with hundreds of speakers. Here’s what meeting planners like me just wish you all understood.

Your role as my speaker (paid or not) is NOT just the time you spend on the stage. From my perspective, you don’t just ‘roll in’ and deliver a killer keynote, and roll back out. You need to be invested in the entire event process. 

what meeting planners wish forHere’s a perfect example of what I mean. CAPS recently presented a speaker who talked to us about getting sponsorship for your books and your speaking tour. She was incredible. Interactive with the audience, great energy, her content was 100% relevant to the audience, she killed it. The audience feedback after her presentation was positively glowing. But that was not why I will book her again in a heartbeat. That is not why I want to be one of her biggest champions. No, it was her pre-event and post-event work that made me love her.  (PS – if you want to know who she is keep reading)

As the marketing chair, it was my job to ‘get hearts in seats”. (I hate that “bums in seats” quote.  To me, it means to fill the room with just anyone.  Hearts in seats means to fill the room with the right people) I had to sell the room. That was my job. This speaker got it. She was actively promoting the event on social media right beside me. She invited guests that were not on my radar. She brought her own database to the table. As an association, we are always looking for new members who share our values and this speaker knew that. She found a way to bring extra value to the table. Post event she has offered follow-up materials and a free non-sales webinar for our members.

I’m thrilled, and here is why. 

As a meeting planner, she exceeded my expectations, in fact, her events sold more tickets that any event so far, this year. She was a pleasure to work with and she demonstrated her professionalism throughout the entire experience.

But as someone who markets speakers for a living – this is what I see. 

  • By engaging on social media with the meeting planner, she reached the audience well before the event. They got a chance to know, like and trust her and they were much more receptive to her message and to any offering she might have made.
  • She increased her number of raving fans (board members and audience members) and they are singing her praises to other associations and other speakers.
  • She actively demonstrated the ‘client first’ model by knowing what we needed and supplying it. This event was not ‘all about her’, it was about all the value we as an association were offering to our members. That is a key difference.
  • She supplied fantastic marketing materials – ahead of the deadline for delivery.  Not only was everything together in a neat package so we did not have to chase her, but I did not have to ‘spruce anything up’ or make a single change. Her marketing copy spoke to the outcomes the audience wanted.  It was not about how fabulous SHE was.
  • She is building her list by offering post-event care. Obviously, attendees will have to sign up to receive access to her free webinar. Those email addresses or Facebook likes or however she chooses to deliver are gold as she launches new programs, books and speaking tours.
  • She made her contact information available to everyone in the audience. Since they loved her and she now has so many new champions, you KNOW they are doing something along the lines of what I am doing. Sharing a great experience with their own fans.

Do you sense a theme? Everything she did to make MY job easier also helps her market herself and fill her sales funnel. It was a pure win/win scenario.

So, the next time you are asked to speak at an event, don’t forget these lessons. It will likely help you turn one gig into many, and isn’t that always a good thing?


PS – share this blog to Facebook, twitter or Linkedin and tag her if you know the speaker I am talking about.  If you need a hint, visit Raise a Dream on Facebook   😉


The Great Speaker Debate

I am so excited to be a featured speaker alongside greats like Hayley Foster, Steve Lowel, Cindy Ashton, and Larry Winget, and of course the lovely Gregory Anne Cox.   The Great Speaker Debate is a free virtual summit that brings 17 experts together to share their truth about what it takes to be great as a speaker, make money, and change people’s lives with your message.

Speaking is a non-negotiable skill in our world.

Live and virtual stages beckon. Coaches are telling you to “use speaking to build your business.”  The professional speaking market is getting more crowded every day.

Do speaking opportunities fill you with dread or get you excited?

I recently heard a speaker say “The greatest currency today is attention.” Yes and No.

Attention is one thing and you don’t need special skills to get it. (Think man climbing up side of Trump tower using suction cups)

Connection coupled with attention is far more powerful. Connection with people means you will hold their attention. From there you can build relationships.

debatePeople will join your tribe.

You will create a thriving business.

The right people will hear your message.

You will change lives.

If you want more but don’t need to read more, head over here and get signed up. It’s free. 

Attention and connection mean getting out in front of people with a clear message, confidence, stories that move and touch people, a strong brand, and a business plan to get heard on a regular basis. If you are missing any of those things—and the many other insider secrets the great speakers all know–then you don’t want to miss this virtual event. There is no charge for over 22 hours of teaching, exercise, secrets only the experts have known until now.

This multi-speaker experts series is going to tell you the truth about what it takes to be or become a great speaker, to Tedx or not to TEDx, how to get paid, how to get gigs, what event planners are looking for, what makes for a great story, the “It” factor, how to sell from the stage, how to fill an event, where you are leaving money on the table, and much, much more.

You can use this link to grab your seat. 

Gregory Anne Cox has put together a stellar line up of highly paid professionals and true to her rebellious way of doing things, some of these speakers do not agree on everything. She wants you to hear both sides of the most common concerns. You get to decide which path to follow.

The event starts on October 19th. I’m speaking on Oct. 25th at 7 pm EST and since you know me, you know I’m going to give you everything I’ve got on the subject of: Speaker Marketing and what Meeting Planners Really Want.

You won’t believe the other people Greg has brought together. Why not check us all out by going over to the event page and sign up now.


What’s the difference between a speaker’s bio and an introduction?


whats-the-difference-between-a-speakers-bio-and-an-introduction-1What’s the difference between a speaker’s bio and an introduction?

Great question! 

Most speakers (and too many meeting planners and MC’s) don’t know the difference.  In fact, when you are being booked, you will sometimes be asked for your bio when they really mean your introduction.  That is why it is always a good idea to provide both.

Speaker Bio

The speaker’s bio (biography) lives on your website and One Sheet and media packet.  It is not designed to be read aloud. It is printed in the program and meant to impress readers with the credentials and experience of the speaker and attract them to attend the presentation. That’s it. When read aloud, most of our biographies can sound pretty boring.  Now, they do not have to – but in reality, they do.

Speaker Introduction
The speaker’s intro is meant to be an exciting, anticipation builder for the audience.  It sets the tone for the entire presentation.  If an introduction is done well, the audience is not only open and receptive to the speaker, they are also on the edge of their seats with excitement and anticipation.

In short, the speaker intro explains in a natural and authentic way why this exact speaker is uniquely qualified to talk about this specific topic to this particular audience.  Did you notice the one additional element in an introduction that does not exist in the biography?  The audience.  Your intro should change slightly with every audience.

Your introduction is also short.  It should take between 30 to 60 seconds for the introducer to read. Anything longer is wasting time and it drains energy from the room, rather than building the excitement.

It is always a good idea to speak with your introducer before the introduction and ensure that she has the correct pronunciation of your name.    Trust me – there are way too many ways to get “Pibworth” wrong…


Event Profit Secrets with Lisa Sasevich

What DOES one blog about when they are still floating on a cloud?

This past week I was in San Diego at a Lisa Sasevich event called Event Profit Secrets (EPS) – and I have developed yet another business crush.  What an amazing speaker she is – but more than that – what value she gives!  The purpose of the event was how to learn to put on events that make money (there is so much more to it than that – but I’d say that is the bottom line) and I learned quite a bit – but I have been putting on events corporately, for myself and for clients for 15 years or more – I pretty much had a handle on that.  What captivated me was her “speak to sell” approach.

This woman, just through use of language and a sense of inclusion and exclusion had everyone in the room not a “Sassy” (a member of her elite mastermind group) desperately wanting to belong to her tribe.  I am not one who will use ‘speaking to sell’  as a selling tool.  There is no coaching program or mastermind program, or even a live event for Pibworth  ANYWHERE in my business plan (Pibworth supports and guides those who do that – I have no intention of doing it myself)  and even I found myself wondering if that was something I needed to belong to.  Masterful I tell you…  She was not actively selling her mastermind, but she still had people sign up simply by planting that seed.  (No wonder she is making millions of dollars per event)

So, as always happens when I get excited and inspired by a book or event – coming soon is the Event Profit Secrets blog series .  Of course, the content of the course is all Lisa, and is copyrighted, so don’t expect to get all the templates etc – but I will share my impressions along the way, and I will highlight some elements I found particularly juicy.

So buckle up – we are hoping on the Lisa Sasevich EPS train!


Keynote Speaker, Breakout, Workshop, Training… Oh My!

The speaking industry interchanges many of these words, and there seems to be no clear industry definition.  To some – a keynote speech is 45-90 minutes, yet I have seen keynotes that that lasted 3 hours and were broken up into 90 minutes to kick off a conference, and 90 more to close it.   As a speaker and presenter, you have no control how a meeting planner is defining those words – but you do have control how others perceive you!  It is all in the words we choose.

When you label yourself as a keynote speaker, or a workshop presenter, you limit your own possibilities.  Scary ins’t it? The idea of creating an income ceiling on purpose?

So – how do you avoid being labelled and missing out on opportunities?  It is as simple as one word.  Replace your “industry terms” with one word – Programs.

When you offer 45 minute, 90 minute, 3 hour, and why not full day Programs, you allow the planners to choose exactly what they want in the time frame they want it in.  You are not telling everyone that you are “strictly a full day speaker” if that is how a meeting planner interprets the word “keynote”.  You are telling them that you have various levels of time available, and if they like what you have to say – you can say it in the time allotted.  Isn’t that a much better feeling to leave them with?  “I can solve your problem on your terms”  It makes the decision on who to hire much easier doesn’t it?

That is what increasing your number of bookings boils down to isn’t it?  Solving their problems and making it as easy as possible for them to make the choice to hire you!


How to use Social Media for your Speaking Presentation

Whether we like it or not, social media in one form or another is here to stay, so why not use it to your advantage as a speaker or presenter?  Here are some great tips to help you before, during, and after your presentation.


 1. Promote your presentation in advance.

Really??  It seems so obvious, but it’s often overlooked. If you are doing your own social media you may be too busy working on the presentation to think about marketing it too – and that is a big mistake. Yes, often the company that hired you to speak is doing the marketing, but it should be your responsibility to do your share as well.  After all, it may be THEIR  event, but it is YOUR content – and as every speaker knows, it is frequently who you know that helps land that gig.  So tell everyone you know what you are up to.  You look busy, and it keeps you and your amazing content top-of-mind.

Don’t forget the “personal side” of social media.  Tweet about it, yes, but if your presentation is open to the public, it is a good idea to send personal invitations to key prospects and other influencers to attend your presentation.  Who does not want an AUTHENTIC personal invitation to attend something as your guest?  That gives them an opportunity to “see you in action” and that is always better than the video!

2. Seek new content and ideas.

Use your social media following to ask questions and find out what your potential audience wants to know. Take a poll, do a survey – when you know what the audience wants – you can deliver it!  It also demonstrates your adaptability and your willingness to work with the client or audience.  A few well placed customized words or ideas inserted into your signature talk will go a long way.


3.  Make your Content available online – Plan your Posts.

It is always best to have someone live within your presentation to post timely links to key content and data references during your presentation.  Make sure that the key elements of your presentation are uploaded to your website, or somewhere online   As you speak, you can post that particular PowerPoint slide and a few key points.  That allows participants to remain more firmly engaged,and it also allows those not able to make the presentation at least get a ‘taste’ of what you are talking about.  If having someone handling your social media needs in the audience is not an option, don’t forget the power of HootSuite or facebook’s “schedule post” options.  If you have your talk “down” – and you should – then you have a pretty good idea of what topic you will hit and when.  Pre-planning your posts makes it seem like your ‘staff’ is right there with you!

4.  Interact with the Audience

If you have the luxury of a staff member in the audience, use them!  Explain you will be using social media as a communication tool during the presentation and display the hashtag (#) clearly on every slide so no comments get lost.  Ask the audience to ask questions via social media and have your assistant track them.  If there seems to be a lot of confusion around an issue – work out a signal for them to get your attention and allow them to ask for clarification.  Nothing is worse than losing an audience over a misspoken word or misunderstood concept.


 5.  Make sure your Leave-Behind is Online too

One of the greatest pieces of technology is the auto responder.   If your audience wants added value and a copy of the presentation, or whatever you choose to give away as a list building mechanism, then make sure the link to receive your information (in return for their email address if conference organizers allow) is prominently displayed on your facebook page, twitter account – and on the final slide of the presentation.

6. Don’t Forget the Feedback

Ask your audience to post their reactions to your talk.  The testimonials you receive are great, but the real value here is in the unfiltered feedback you will receive.  You can only get better if you realize there are areas of improvement, and don’t forget to read the feedback for other presenters at that same conference – see how you rate in comparison.

7.  Referrals are King!

Positioning and marketing take a back seat to a good referral from someone who has seen your presentation.  Follow up with those who did post feedback and ASK them for a referral.  You just got up in front of an audience of how many – and you are afraid to ask for an opportunity to do it again?  Really?


Top Tips for creating a speaker website that converts

Is YOUR website doing all it can to grow your speaking business? Are you sure??

Which Are You?

Take the next steps to building your speaking business by choosing which of the speaker types below fits you!


Top Tips for creating a speaker website that converts

Is YOUR website doing all it can to grow your speaking business? Are you sure??