Setting the Stage for Your Speakers’ Success
There is a difference between a good speaking engagement that accomplishes its basic purposes and a memorable engagement that positively impacts just about everyone involved. Setting the stage for which of the two your organization experiences begins long before the speaker arrives at the event.
We spoke recently with Jeremy Park, president of the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club (LPBC). The LPBC is a philanthropic organization comprised of local and national businesses that fund more than 150 community-enriching events per year. Park is instrumental in the success of each speaker’s experience at these events and we wanted to learn first-hand some of the tools he employs to so consistently provide this success. Following are a few of the major points taken away from that conversation.
Study your speaker.
After a speaker is booked Park continues to learn as much as possible about the speaker. Having already researched personal backgrounds and professional contributions, the focus shifts to published works and any community or charitable affiliations. This helps him plan an experience that is specific to the individual speaker. For example, recent LPBC keynote speaker Mark Herzlich is not only the current linebacker for the New York Giants but is also a cancer survivor. It was only fitting that the evening before Herzlich’s presentation he was part of a small reception at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and afforded the chance to meet and speak with patients with whom he shared a similar journey.
The care with which you plan a speaker’s experience can often be seen in the details. In executing those details authenticity is key and, Park states, “you cannot fake authenticity.” Manny Diaz, former mayor of Miami, spoke at an LPBC function several months ago. His schedule was so well-planned by Park and his team, it prompted Diaz to extend an invitation to Miami so that he could return the favor. After reading Diaz’s book Miami Transformed: Rebuilding America One Neighborhood, Once City at a Time, Park knew a city tour highlighting Memphis’ positive growth and unique culture would interest Diaz. Thus, they toured the newly renovated National Civil Rights Museum and ate lunch at Napa Café with Mayor A C Wharton and other business and community leaders. This was followed by dinner at Corky’s BBQ with business and community leaders. Park also arranged for a dinner with city leaders who, like Diaz, are rebuilding and transforming Memphis for the better. The entire schedule was created with Diaz’s interests in mind and Park put in the time and effort necessary to create the authentically memorable visit.
Consider the long term.
“It is more than a business transaction. It is the beginning of a relationship, a friendship.” This is how Park approaches every speaker with whom he interacts. He believes that everything done in the present can lead to even better things in the future. Speakers will remember the way they were treated, the ease with which the logistics of the presentations flowed. They will remember authenticity.
Prepare your speakers for their audience. Prepare your audience for their speaker.
While some keynote speakers’ platforms clearly fall into certain categories such as health care or volunteerism, others may not be as clear cut. In this instance Park clarifies with the speaker not only platform but also audience: will the message be more corporate or personal in nature? Differentiating between the two can impact even the smallest details, such as which photo of the speaker is used on promotional materials. This in turn gives the audience a clearer picture of what to expect. Informing the keynote speaker of what audiovisual equipment is provided-or not- is another important detail. Speakers want the event to be a success just as much as the clients and audience do. The less they have to worry about logistics, the more they can focus on their message. This ultimately can make the difference between a presentation that is good and one that is memorable.
Executive Speakers Bureau is proud to team up with the LPBC and Jeremy Park. It is amazing how many of Jeremy’s speakers have become longtime friends and big fans of the Memphis community.