New industry expectations mean you have to raise
your technological game to meet the demands
It would appear that during the last year
the speaking business has improved.
The significant downturn that took place
after 9/11 seems to have reversed and now
business has improved. However, customers
are more demanding and, as speakers, we
need to be able to respond to those expectations appropriately.
As I look at the speakers who are doing
the best in this business, based on earning
the most money and building an impressive
reputation, I can’t help but notice that they
are raising their game in a number of ways.
Of course, there is the ongoing need to
hone our speaking ability, which is especially
important to those who speak internationally.
Yet, today the customer is expecting us to
provide more than a well-crafted and well-delivered speech on stage.
Technology is a major reason for the high
level of expectation, but to effectively use
the resources associated with modern-day
communication tools, speakers must know
how to use them to extend their information
reach. The days of creating just a newsletter and publishing a book are over. Customers want content to be more exacting,
accessible and immediate. Podcasting, for
example, has taken the place of traditional
print newsletters and is just one of many
tools to reach audiences in different ways
beyond the platform.
Speakers also must make a serious investment in doing research and seeking to provide added value for their customers and
clients. This takes time and money. When
you enter the technology world, there are
costs that add to the overhead of being
Today, competitive speakers need:
• To be able to provide a newsletter in
written, audio and visual formats.
• To have an up-to-date promo clip available on their Web sites.
• To provide additional information online
to customers with more than just a copy
of their speech, a list of services offered
and industry expertise.
• To know how to effectively use their Web
site so customers can easily access
electronic material that is useful.
• To have an audio version of their books.
The events, meeting and HR industries
are on a mission to seek ways to provide
return on investment, and this means that
speakers are under added pressure to
show how and what they are offering, and
how their product will add value compared to others. The speaker who shows he
or she can provide something more (and
not just his latest book) will be the speaker
that has a chance at getting the best
share of the business.
Of course, it’s always been a requirement that we give value, but the client’s
perception of value has changed. Clients
have a more refined expectation and outlook of what speaking professionals need
to deliver. We have to rise to that challenge
and raise our game. The speaking industry
needs to think differently about how it positions itself and how we learn from one
another past the opening and closing of a
Paul Bridle, CSP, FPSA, is a leadership
methodologist. For more than 17 years he
has studied effective organizations and
the people that lead them. As a result of
his expertise and research, he is called
upon to work with organizations relating to
management and leadership. Paul is past
president of the International Federation