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from the Trenches
The speaking business has forever changed! So, unless you’ve been asleep at the wheel or your calendar always has been a “little light,” you’re probably
experiencing a downward shift in your
business. If this happens, the natural thing
for a speaker to do is to find new ways to
book more business. Sound simple?
Not so fast—some speakers reinvent themselves and actually drive their
speaking businesses into a ditch.
Six meeting professionals weighed in
with advice for speakers who are considering reinvention.
“In the past 21 years, I have seen
many speakers reinvent themselves. What
bothers me most is when a speaker picks
a topic simply because it is currently ‘hot,’
not because of the speaker’s area of expertise. Then, another hot topic comes along
and the speaker says, ‘Oh, I can do that,
too!’ Picking the hot topic du jour can
make a speaker appear shallow—a jack
of all trades and a master of none. That
said, speakers need to be true to themselves when reinventing.” –Andrea Gold,
President, Gold Star Speakers Bureau
“Reinvention is important, especially if a speaker’s material is outdated.
If a speaker is perceived as high maintenance, the reinvention process is
irrelevant. Speakers are just one part
of an extraordinary meeting. If a
speaker is hard to communicate with,
doesn’t research the audience, or misunderstands the meeting’s goals and
objectives, it creates more problems
for the meeting planner.” –Jamie Cook,
CMP, President, Strategic Meetings, Ltd.
“Past the age of 30, everyone wants to look 10 years younger. When speak- ers are reinventing, they should make sure their photo or video isn’t celebrat- ing its 6th birthday. When observing speakers, I didn’t recognize some of them until they started talking. Fashions change, but we still see video of women wearing big shoulder pads. If the video is old, the implied message is that it’s been a long time since the speaker did his or her best work. Speakers should omit old clips because it’s distracting
when they ping-pong between different
looks and ages.” –Susan Masters, Vice
President, National Speakers Bureau
“Speakers tend to get stuck in
the ‘same old story’ mode. They go
through the process of repackaging
their exterior, but the internal contents
don’t change. For example, a speaker
changes the title of a talk by adding
the words “in challenging times,”
and then delivers the same old material. Reinvention doesn’t mean simply
changing program titles; speakers need
to research, refresh and update their
content.” –Jean Cadwell, President/
Owner, Elite Ideas, LLC
“Growth and reinvention are vital,
so speakers should build on an existing
foundation. If they have a brand and
market presence, they should develop
a fresh approach, cleaner imaging and
updated keynotes. But, speakers should
not abandon the message and expertise
for which they are known. More than
ever, organizations are searching for
value and expertise.” –Shawn Hanks,
Vice President, Director of Speaker
Relations, Premiere Speakers Bureau
“During the reinvention process, it
is important for speakers to increase
their level of customization to clients.
No canned presentations! They need to
research the organization to understand
its products and processes. That will
ensure maximum impact on the audience, and that is exactly what I need!”
–Holly Hamilton, Director of Human
Resources, Symbius Medical
Interviewer Deborah Gardner, CMP, is a TV-radio personality, and the CEO and founder of COMPETE BETTER NOW! LLC®, teaching how to identify
your competitiveness the healthy and
productive way. She also is the author of How
to Sell to Men Without Wearing a Low-Cut
Dress. Visit www.DeborahGardner.com.
Interviewer Joe Contrera is the CEO and founder of ALIVE@ WORK® LLC, a leadership consulting firm that works with organizations to
motivate and engage their people at work.
He also is the author of LIGHT ’EM UP!
How to Ignite the Fire in Your Sales Team in
Just 21 Days. Visit www.aliveatwork.com.