After the Hire and Before the Presentation
Up until now it has been an opportunity to say what you will do. At this
point you really get started doing it and have the real chance to
shine in the meeting planner’s eyes. The first few items, while basic,
are necessary reminders that the little things get you a lot of mileage
out of a meeting planner’s impression.
1. Do your homework. Ask for and read all the materials you can get
your hands on: annual reports, company publications, Web sites.
“I don’t expect any speaker to have in-depth knowledge of self-storage, but I do expect them to get to know us,” Mathews
2. Get to know as much as possible about the purpose of the
meeting, goals, participants, and previous meetings and
speakers. “Good questions, listening to the answers, and then
asking more good questions always works,” Eisenstodt says.
3. Request to do interviews either of the company leadership or
audience participants. Ask the meeting planner whom they
want you to interview. “One to two weeks before the presentation
we do a conference call with the company officers. This may
take an hour or so and we cover all the key points,” Findley says.
4. Let the meeting planner know you will be a part of his or her
team, helping to make the event successful. Help them
solve problems they don’t even know they have, which shows
your attitude of service.
5. Respond to the clients’ requests in a timely fashion. “If a
client e-mails a request for a description of the program, they
want it today,” says Mike Frank, CSP, CPAE, past president of
NSA and owner of Speakers Unlimited. “It’s no good if you
have to remind a speaker three or four times.”
6. Plan on showing up for the meeting early enough to mingle.
Findley explains that one of the ways he knows a speaker really
cares about the client is when he or she shows up early and mixes
with the guests, gets to know their names and then even uses
those names from the platform.
7. Be involved in how the room is set up as much as you are
able. “Speakers demonstrate that they know good adult learning styles by suggesting how a room be set,” Eisenstodt says. She
further explains it is important that speakers take responsibility for
the interaction with the audience, not just evoking emotion.
The “don’ts” before the meeting are clearly a problem for meeting
Don’t just show up for your presentation and then hurry out
right after. “The one that walks in and walk out—that’s not the
speaker I want,” Findley tells us.
Recent interviews with recipients of
NSA Meeting Partner of the Year
Award yielded a consistent message: “Recreate yourself and provide fresh,
The Inside Scoop According to Brian
Palmer, owner of the
NSA Meeting Partners of the Year Share Insights Bureau and a 26-
year veteran of the
By EILEEN MCDARGH, CSP, CPAE industry, “What used
to work doesn’t and there’s a constant
demand to be fresh. The market is flooded
with speakers—many retired boomers who
now want their next career. Standing out is
difficult.” Sheilah Harrison, meeting planner
for the American Financial Services Association, agrees, emphasizing that topic area
is not a differentiation. “You’d be surprised
how many times I look for speakers and I see
the same description of their presentation
that I saw 20 years ago,” Harrison says.
Betty Garrett, CMP, of Garrett Speakers
Bureau, also endorses Palmer’s statement.
“Seasoned professionals can’t stop growing. They need to constantly be fine-tuning,
staying on the cutting edge, and creating
multiple income streams. I’m also now getting calls for people to speak to younger
workers on professional dress, communication skills, even manners. And if speakers
fail to personalize and customize, they will
find their career minimized.”
Staying on the cutting edge and mining
fresh content requires original work. Joan
Tesak, CMP, CAE, head of the Colorado Society of Association Executives, is adamant
that attendees do not want information that
is a regurgitation of a book or something
from the Internet. “Go in depth immediately—no generalizations. Two or three key
points and go as deep as possible on them.
Speakers have less time to establish credibility. There is more and more demand for true