JASON HEWLETT, CSP, CPAE,
speaks on the power of promises we make
in becoming legendary leaders while
showcasing legends of stage performance
through music and comedy as a keynote
be seen again—yet will be the memorable parts of my presentation.
And, it’s a strategy that works.
In the past 18 years of corporate speaking and performing, more
than 70 percent of direct client bookings have had me return for multiple engagements. The main reasons they give for bringing me back:
“We appreciate how present you are to our conference and
“We know you’ll always have new material because you customize to the theme, group, location, and current events.”
Here’s another example of how I created a customized connection
with my audience.
I was sound asleep in the hotel when the fire alarm went off at 3
a.m., just hours before my 8 a.m. keynote. As I considered staying in
bed and pretending not to hear it, I realized that it could be the perfect
connection point between me and my attendees in the morning’s
presentation. So, with my iPhone rolling on a selfie stick, I began
filming as I ran down the stairs, leaping past people and com-
mentating like a newscaster that we all may be doomed. I took
selfies in the lobby and parking lot with strangers as we learned
that it was just Hank from HR who got too drunk and pulled the
fire alarm before passing out on the eighth floor.
The next morning, I leveraged this exciting shared experience to open my keynote. I placed video, photos, and slides
into my presentation. People were screaming with laughter
that I had captured the early-morning evacuation and that
they were now playing a role in the keynote.
At that point, I could have spoken about anything and
received great audience engagement. But the in-the-moment
material did more than that. It also resulted in requests to
come to other conferences as well as return to that one. Of
course, I also delivered my “A” material, but adding in the
pieces customized to our collective situational, environmental, and current experiences has proven time and again to
endear me to even the grizzliest of groups. ■
Going above and beyond the traditional
canned keynote means doing a bit
more homework and prep:
Search Google for when the client has
been in the news—for good and bad.
Take photos and video of yourself
on location and insert them into your
Write down and notice everything
that is memorable—or pleasantly
surprising—to you as an attendee.
Use everything noticeable as long
as it is familiar and not belittling.
Your goal is not to demean, but to be
TIPS AND TRICKS