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Meeting Planners

As your partners in delivering the best professional speaker for your meeting, we have created a number of resources to help you in planning the best meeting for your organization. We have written a number of industry articles and guides to assist you in planning the best event for your group. Our team includes members who are Certified Meeting Professionals (CMPs) who understand the big picture perspective of your event. The following resources will help you define your exact needs in a speaker and deliver the best possible keynote to your event.

Some Usefull Blogs for Meeting Planners

Top Tips for Audience Engagement

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 13:19

In these days of media overload, smart devices and multi-tasking, our conferences struggle more than ever to capture and hold the attention of our attendees. They’ll give us their polite attention for only a few minutes, and if we don’t give them rich experiences, they’ll leave – either physically, or by diving into their devices for distraction. The challenge is compounded by today’s culture, where everybody demands and expects an individualized experience.

What’s a planner to do?

Here are some tips you can implement to rev up your audience engagement:

  1. In your Call for Speakers, ask your speakers what percentage of their program includes audience participation. Don’t settle for less than 25% unless it’s a proven keynote speaker. Then ask HOW the audience will participate. Don’t settle for a simple show of hands every few minutes – audiences demand more today, or they’ll tune out.
  2. My research has shown that the magic number is eight. If an attendee meets just eight new people at a conference, that attendee is more likely to feel like he is part of the company or association. He’s more likely to engage more fully throughout the conference, and he’s more likely to come to the next conference, as well. I work with planners to put strategic networking activities right at the beginning of the event, so everybody meets at least eight people on day one.
  3. Speaking of strategic networking, it’s important, especially to first-time attendees and introverts. I don’t mean cheesy networking exercises (although sometimes, depending on the audience, cheesy is good!). I mean networking with a purpose. Structured networking is well facilitated, full of guidance and activities, so people aren’t left to their own devices to strike up awkward conversations at the open bar. It can be completely fun-based, or specific to the goals and objectives of the meeting hosts. Attendees can meet others with similar roles, geographies, or challenges, and have meaningful conversations as a result.
  4. There are over five trillion different learner types today – more than there are human beings! One example – some people learn best first thing in the morning, while others learn best later in the day. Offer opportunities for people to connect and have meaningful discussions throughout the day, like informal round table topics at breakfast, or more structured round table discussions as a session during the day.
  5. Schedule longer breaks. 15 minutes is not enough anymore, if you want your attendees to truly connect. 30-45 minutes is ideal. Before everyone leaves for the break, I often suggest a discussion topic relevant to a session or speaker. Not everyone may want to discuss that topic, but those who do will be grateful for the suggestion, and will find like-minded others.

The days of back-to-back lectures are fading. Attendees by and large want opportunities to collaborate with one another, share ideas, and work on scenarios to learn new things. Give them those opportunities at your conference, and you’ll create year-round fans who will return again and again, and spread the word to others as well.

Shawna Suckow, CMP, is a professional speaker and audience engagement facilitator. She helps planners restructure tired meetings, and helps audiences to create connections that matter.

 Shawna Suckow 

Generational Shift Requires Planners to Shift Event Design

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 13:13

There has always been a “Generation Gap”, but today it is widening and becoming more complex, posing issues both in our professional and social world. In the meetings industry in particular, designing events that will appeal to all attendees is becoming an ongoing challenge, especially as it relates to the youngest delegates.
For the first time in history in the U.S. there are four generations in the workplace:

  • Traditionalists (Born between 1922 and 1945)
  • Baby Boomers: (1946 to 1964)
  • Gen Xers: (1965 to 1977)
  • Gen Ys (Millennials - 1978 or later)

The biggest change all of us are facing is how technology has invaded our daily lives and how it is being used by these 4 different groups. The mobile workforce (Millennials), a relatively small, but influential bunch, are the first generation to embrace mobile technology and social media on a regular basis. An astounding 95% of Millennials are online, so it's safe to say that being connected is a daily necessity. And meeting planners have to account for those habits.

Today’s event planners must shift their thinking to correspond to the generational shift that is occurring so their events meet expectations. Here are a few things to consider that will satisfy both Gen X and Gen Y attendees:

  • Provide Value before they get on-site
    This doesn’t mean an email blast, Twitter hashtag or other Social Media outreach, which is expected. Rather, create a buzz and a call to action before they get to the event. For example, if it’s a large industry event, have delegates submit videos beforehand to showcase a new or innovative product or idea they have that is relevant and worth sharing with the entire audience.
  • Create Interest upon entering the room
    Try a seating style that’s different from what they are accustomed to. Classroom and roundtable seating certainly have their applications, but when an attendee walks into a room with a different or innovative set-up, they immediately become interested. Use all the different style tables and configurations that the venue has.
  • Remind delegates what they Should be Thinking
    Prepare a compelling opening such as a dazzling video. Outline key concepts in a logical sequence to begin the presentation, emphasizing "real world" significance. Consider using “Picture in Picture” applications with a large center screen for content and 2 side screens for conversation topics, quotes or twitter hashtags that you want the attendees to keep front of mind.
  • Tell them what Others are Thinking
    Provide the delegates with “Instant Information Gratification”. Set up an email account and have attendees send their questions, thoughts and opinions to that email address. Have a dedicated graphics operator put the information on the screen. This is similar to Twitterfall or Protected Tweets, but allows you to fully manage content that appears on screen.
  • Manage the growing "Appification" of your meeting or event
    Smart Devices have changed the way people communicate and increasingly, meeting managers are beginning to uncover the ability that apps have to improve attendee efficiency, productivity and engagement. The most important consideration is this: How will the app promote “ROE” (Return on Experience) for each attendee? Don’t lose sight of your meeting objectives and what information can legally be shared, in light of privacy.
 Michael Lyons 

Tips for Energy- Efficient Meetings

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 12:57

As meeting planners, you have the opportunity to influence the learning environment in a way that will provide optimal return on investment for your clients. It’s important to be aware of fundamental concepts related to how the brain learns, retains, and applies new information. The most essential strategy for energy-efficient meetings is to create a healthy oscillation or rhythm throughout the day that mirrors the way the human system is designed to function at its best – as a series of sprints rather than one long marathon.
See article: The Brain Science Behind Meeting Breaks
Services offered by Heidi Hanna, PhD – The Energy Advisor program – included with all keynotes or workshops

  • Provide guidance on meal and snack selections
  • Assist with agenda/schedule to incorporate healthy oscillation, movement and strategic breaks
  • Facilitate (additional fee may apply) guided meditation, morning or afternoon group workout, or other recharge break

The 10 most important energy management tips for creating an optimal learning environment:

  1. Encourage physical activity every hour
  2. Aim for meeting space that has access to fresh air and natural light when possible
  3. Schedule shorter learning sessions with time to debrief and discuss key takeaways with other participants for consolidation of learning
  4. Provide meals and snacks that have adequate protein to stabilize blood sugar
  5. Build in time for personal reflection and comfortable transition in between sessions
  6. Make sure speakers stick with time schedule and honor break time as important as any other session – once boundaries become loose, stress hormones spike and learning is compromised
  7. Always end with an action planning session where attendees can revisit key learning, write down important takeaways and establish accountability regarding how they will apply their new knowledge
  8. Create a culture of full-engagement that discourages multitasking by requesting all technology to be in airplane mode or off during sessions
  9. Incorporate healthy humor, play and creativity to decrease stress and boost brainpower
  10. Never compromise sleep and downtime by running sessions too late in the evening or cramming the agenda too full.
 Heidi Hanna 

"We Can Do It Ourselves" and Other Dangerous Assumptions around Meeting Planning

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 12:48 An image of Andy Cohen Speaking

“It’s like planning your own wedding,” said the strategy director of a global company.
She was referring to a management event that she and two other executives were in charge of producing and in which they invited me to give a keynote.
Her point was revealing. Are corporations thrusting the responsibility of having the people who run departments put on the meetings themselves as a cost saving strategy? If so, this often proves to be a costly assumption as explained later.
Another dangerous assumption is that event planning is like party planning. But the reality is quite the opposite. Weddings are about creating a wonderful experience for the moment with memories that last a lifetime.
Internal corporate events are about creating powerful experiences that drive change over time and impact the bottom line.
Assuming that party planning is the same as event planning is a dangerous assumption to make for a number of reasons:

  1. Costs. Executives trained in manufacturing, compliance, marketing, etc. are pulled away from what they do best to having to negotiate hotel rates, chair counts, union AV personal, food orders and overall event contracts. Any good executive can focus on learning these new tasks which take time and experience to learn. Besides why would a corporation want to distract them from their true operations that brings in profit to the bottom line of the company? From a cost perspective, it doesn’t make sense.
  2. Awareness: Often executives tasked with putting on an event aren’t aware that their organization has meeting planners to engage or get advice. Many times the responsibility for negating a contact is left with the executive’s administrative assistant. Without the input from a meeting planner who knows the true costs there’s a chance that the organization will pay more then they had to.
  3. Understanding parameters: I watched a conference hotel manager bully an executive who organized and ran the event. This executive was truly upset by the lack of delivery of certain logistics but lacked the experience in knowing what was acceptable or not. In addition, he didn’t speak the“conference-ez” of the hotel manager, which weakened his demands.

Sometimes the size of an event is too small to warrant the cost of engaging a meeting planner. To counter this, meeting and event planners have supplied “tool boxes” to those in charge as a way of helping understand what a meeting entails and guidelines for negotiating, scheduling, etc. Again, this underscores the value of a good Meeting Planner, especially one who is certified.

But in a majority of cases, to assume that putting on an event is equivalent to a “no brainer” party is a dangerous assumption. That is costly in time, energy and at the end of the day profitability for the organization. It’s an assumption worth challenging.
After all, having executives matched with having to plan the event doesn’t necessarily make for a good marriage.
Andy Cohen is the Chief Assumption Officer at Andy Cohen Worldwide. He recently Keynoted at the CMP Conclave to helps members identify dangerous assumptions that act as barriers to managing clients and driving solutions. He then provided the tools to challenge those assumptions in order to drive profit, growth and change. It’s called the Assumpt!

 Andy Cohen 

The Event Planner’s Guide to Travel Security

Friday, October 9, 2015 - 09:02 An image of Paul Viollis talking about travel and security

The Event Planner’s Guide to Travel Security by Paul Viollis

Balancing event productivity/profitability with ongoing criminal intelligence and venue related risk is perhaps more challenging than ever before for the event planner. Given the increased risk of terrorism both on American soil and abroad amidst a plethora of other domestic and foreign concerns, this cadre of professionals is clearly in a precarious position as they attempt to solidify the 2016 calendar.

During what is arguably some of the most tumultuous times in recent history, ensuring safe travel and a positive experience is of paramount concern. It is with this in mind that the adage "Proper Planning Avoids Panic and Paranoia" rings true.

Regardless of the mode of travel, traveling domestically or internationally presents inherent risks if due caution is not exercised. Travel security within the U.S. generally presents lower risk levels than traveling to international markets. However, with community violence at its worst level since the civil rights riots, this is most definitely a concern that must be taken into account. International travel has and will continue to be hampered by the growth of groups such as ISIS, and the ongoing increase of "Express Kidnap" scenarios from resort areas. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us all to re-examine the manner in which we plan our travel, the precautions we take while traveling, our mind-set regarding safety upon arrival at our destination, and the distinction between domestic and international travel risks.

Given the apparent risks and the need for peace of mind, the following illustrates current "Best Practices" for enhancing personal safety during travel.

Pre-Travel Planning

  • Limit travel itinerary to a "need to know" basis and delegate someone as a 24/7 contact and arrange daily communication protocol.
  • Every traveler should have a system of accountability for tracking family members while traveling. This information must be limited to involved parties only and never discussed outside that inner circle.
  • Provide prearranged car service submitting segments of travel only.
  • Ensure no signs are presented to identify the individual traveling by name at the airport.
  • Identify alternative routes of travel, including different modes of transportation, to provide prompt response in the event of a crisis.
  • Select a separate credit card to be used for all travel reservations and accommodations.
  • Make copies of wallet contents and passport/visa prior to travel.
  • Ensure all required medication is packed in carry-on bags.
  • Remove all forms of identification from travel bags by substituting them with other identifying features.

There is no reason to advertise who you are or where you live. One alternative is to place a tag with your business address without company name on your bags. In the event you are claiming a lost bag, your picture ID with proof of business address will suffice.

  • Bring and utilize luggage ties to secure luggage and ensure the safety of your belongings while they are left unattended in a hotel room.
  • It is recommended to not register or make reservations in one's own name if the individual is well known and prone to attracting unwanted attention.
  • When possible, book hotel rooms between the second and seventh floors to limit first floor access while still being positioned safely for emergency evacuation if necessary.

Travel Precautions

  • Always maintain a low profile.
  • Avoid routine patterns and vary travel routes.
  • Be conscious of being followed.
  • Never leave a laptop or any type of mobile electronic device unattended and only travel with needed data by utilizing removable media/data storage.
  • Affix an identification label to the outside of laptop to avoid confusion of ownership while processing through secure checkpoints.
  • Morning arrivals and departures are recommended.
  • Take caution when conversing with strangers despite their personal appearance.
  • Avoid traveling with items that are not absolutely necessary.
  • Limit items to be carried.
  • Dine in recognized eateries not off the beaten path.
  • Avoid street vendor food.
  • While flying, remain at the entrance of the metal detector until your bags have gone through the X-ray machine and never let them out of your sight for any time period.
  • If flying commercially, once on the plane, keep your carry-on beneath your seat in lieu of in the overhead compartment.
  • While traveling by train, enter and remain in only those cars that are occupied.
  • Do not joke about weapons and/or explosives personal safety upon arrival.
  • From airport arrival, travel to the hotel and throughout your stay, there is a great deal that can be done to enhance overall personal safety. At each and every destination, providing the previously mentioned front end precautions were taken, the following should be practiced as the rule, not the exception.
  • Keep door locked while in the room.
  • Avoid public areas of the hotel as criminal/terrorist activity is drawn to these areas.
  • Do not under any circumstances discuss the nature of the trip with anyone and be cautious of the information discussed over the telephone.
  • Avoid nighttime activity away from the hotel if feasible.
  • If away from hotel, always watch drinks while they are being poured and never leave them unattended.
  • Be sure any time a credit card is used it is promptly returned and do not give it to bartender to establish a tab.
  • Avoid using your own name when making social reservations.
  • Ensure that daily contact is made with the delegated point of contact (POC) and that contingencies are developed assessing international travel risk conduct and due diligence on the location(s) of travel to determine an accurate threat based upon the following checklist:
    • Social issues
    • General crime and corruption issues (to include limits to personal rights if held by local authorities)
    • Active terrorist groups
    • Organized crime activity
    • Propensity for kidnap and extortion
    • Labor instability
    • Local ethnic/extremist religious issues
    • Infrastructure and environmental situation
    • Political climate
    • Economic strength and income discrepancy
    • Health and public safety risks
    • Areas not to visit, roads not to travel, taxis not to take, and rentals not to use
    • Weather/climate concerns
    • Hotels/restaurants/hospitals/clinics not to frequent
    • Secure travel contingencies in the event of a disruption in schedule

The advisor should recommend a reliable personal protection specialist and security driver (24/7) once the travel due diligence is completed and it is determined the intended destination presents substantial risks. Once it is determined the threat level has been addressed, the following preparations and precautions should be taken:

  • Obtain foreign currency in advance, consisting of small denominations, and avoid carrying large sums of cash.
  • Program cellular phones with local one-touch emergency telephone numbers.
  • Identify medical facilities in and around the area(s) of destination in advance.
  • Bring a copy of passport, driver's license, and related visa documents to be kept in a separate location in the event of being lost or stolen.
  • Leave your passports in the hotel safe (providing it is a well-known, internationally recognized property).
  • Carry a card with personal medical information, including blood type, medications (including those causing allergic reactions) and physician contact numbers.
  • Only use ATMs during the day and preferably inside a bank.
  • Beware of pickpockets and the common techniques they use (distractions, such as jostling, spilling something on you, asking for directions or the time, solicitation of items, and small groups, oftentimes of children, that you must pass through).
  • Ensure daily communications are scheduled in advance with point of contact (POC).
  • Develop consistent code words/phrases to alert PGC to an adverse situation.

In sum, perhaps the greatest explanation point on the planning process is to never forget "Cheap IS Expensive". Proper due diligence is no longer a nicety but a necessity.

 Paul Viollis 

Inspiring Speaker Showcase for Event Professionals

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 12:31 Goodman Speakers Bureau Speaker Showcase

We were so excited to have our speaker showcase at the lovely Marriott in downtown Hartford, CT last night. We were lucky enough to have our old and new clients and friends come out to hear three of our inspirational speakers teach us how to embrace life each and every day. The Marriott ensured that we had a relaxing evening with great food. The ambiance allowed us to sit back and listen to the powerful messages being said, while we ate delectable hors d'oeuvres. The mini tacos were a great introduction to the wonderful meal we were about to have. Our speakers then took the stage to share their unique wisdom.

Jon Stetson
Jon Stetson made us all feel like we were children again witnessing a magic show. His ability to read minds kept us in awe from start to finish. Jon was able to influence our thoughts, while decoding our body language to read our minds. He invited several audience members, including one of our employees, to demonstrate the power paying attention to detail. No matter how many times we see Jon perform, we will always be amazed by his talents.

Scarlett Lewis
Scarlett Lewis then warmed our hearts with a tribute to her son, Jesse Lewis, and a message of compassion. She showed us that no matter what may happen, we can always choose to love rather than hate. Scarlett was an inspiration to everyone in the audience and made us strive to learn forgiveness. Her simple mantra, motivated from Jesse, “Nurturing. Healing, Love” provides us with the courage to change our angry thoughts into compassion and happiness.

David Romanelli
David Romanelli then talked to us about living in the moment. He showed us that some of the oldest people across the world still embrace life to the fullest, which inspired the audience to go out and make memories. He explained the importance of loving and embracing the little things that make a moment joyous. He left us on an uplifting note with some delicious chocolate and wine to make sure we had our enjoyable moment of the day. His message of everyday happiness flowed beautifully after Scarlett's speech on the importance of love.

We want to thank everyone who came and made this night one to remember!

 Scarlett Lewis   Jon Stetson   David Romanelli 

Goodman Speakers Bureau Announces Partnership with Northstar Meetings Group

Thursday, March 12, 2015 - 13:01 Goodman and Northstar Partnership

WINDSOR, CT—March 12, 2014—The Goodman Speakers Bureau is pleased to announce their partnership with Northstar Meetings Group for 2015. Goodman will sponsor speakers for several events held by Meeting & Conventions and Successful Meetings, Northstar owned subsidiaries, throughout 2015. This partnership is a commitment by both parties to provide educational and forward-thinking content to further the meetings industry.

These events, such as Meeting & Conventions' Interact and destination-focused events, give planners the chance to experience the industry’s most topical and influential speakers. It also affords them the opportunity to ask questions and engage with the speakers. Diane Goodman states, “I am beyond thrilled to be partnering with Northstar, it is a great opportunity to be part of, and contribute to, the education that moves our industry forward.”

Attendees receive the added benefit of listening to engaging and educational content. So far Goodman has scheduled Hannah Ubl, generational expert, speaking on What Millennials Mean to the Meetings Industry at the upcoming Interact Southeast; technology pioneer, futurist, and journalist Michael Rogers for Destination Northeast; performance coach Heidi Hanna’s Investment Strategies for Your Most Valuable Resource for Destination California; Chris Bashinelli’s Global Citizenship: From Brooklyn to Africa for M&C Global Interact; and leadership catalyst Simon T. Bailey and Dear World founder Robert Fogarty for M&C Interact later this summer in New Orleans.

Meeting & Conventions and Successful Meetings events bring together high-level meeting professionals with leading suppliers in a spectacular setting and productive business format. They afford event planners the opportunity to meet and engage with vendors and to further their professional development. For more information on their events, please visit Meeting & Conventions events page. Meeting & Conventions and Successful Meetings are products of Northstar Travel Media, LLC. For more information about Northstar and its other meetings and travel-related brands, visit www.ntmllc.com.

The Goodman Speakers Bureau provides insight, guidance, perspective and advice to assist meeting planners in selecting the best professional speakers for their event. Done with the highest level of integrity, passion, professionalism, and service, the Goodman Speakers Bureau works to match the best motivational, inspirational, business and thought-leading speakers for client meetings. The Goodman Speakers Bureau is located at 56 Poquonock Avenue, Windsor, CT 06095.


 Hannah Ubl   Michael Rogers   Heidi Hanna   Chris Bashinelli   Simon T. Bailey 

Keynote Success: 10 Tips to Maximize Pre-event Planning

Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 11:42 Keynote Success Microphones

Congratulations! You’ve hired the right keynote speaker to deliver a message that resonates with your meeting objectives, while meeting the needs of your audience and stakeholders. As the event approaches, here are ten tips to maximize your success on presentation day:

1. Position the speaker on the agenda where he/she will provide the most impact.
Examples: A corporation announcing a new global change initiative may want to position a keynote on embracing change at the opening general session to increase the audience’s receptiveness to the organization’s mission. Whereas, an association that has struggled with attendees departing early, may want to position one of their professional speakers as the closing keynote to increase chances of attendees staying for the full duration of the conference.
2. Schedule a pre-event conference call between the speaker and the internal client or senior leader.
This allows the speaker to understand the needs of the organization, challenges the audience may face and ask clarifying questions. The speaker is able to gather information needed to customize his message to your specific group.
3. Consider room sets that maximize audience engagement. The closer the audience is to the speaker, the more the connection and attention.
Dance floors, or wide open center aisles directly in front of the speaker, can separate a speaker from the audience, while theater-style seating or round tables as close to the stage as possible will maximize engagement.
4. Obtain advance written permission to record from the speaker.
If you are recording the session, always obtain the speaker’s written permission well in advance. Keynotes typically contain the intellectual property of the speaker and may have recording limitations or fees that apply.
5. Review your Event Profile prior to the event to be sure the speaker logistics are completed and accurate.
Goodman Speakers Bureau provides this document to clients as a tool to keep both the meeting planner and the speaker on track for success. By summarizing the audience profile, meeting objectives, travel arrangements, emergency contact info and other vital details, everyone has an easy reference sheet to use on-site.
6. Allow the speaker to arrive at the destination in advance.
By arriving the night before, a speaker can familiarize themselves with the facility/attendees, give the planner some peace of mind, and get a good night’s rest. This is of key importance for International travel, wintry destinations or whenever weather may present an added challenge. In times of threatening storms, (sometimes in the speaker’s point of departure), a speaker may need to arrive two days prior.
7. Conduct a sound check or audio-visual rehearsal.
Be sure to schedule an AV check in advance. Professional speakers will want to familiarize themselves with the room ahead of time. This is an opportunity to test PowerPoint presentations, (if not already provided in advance), meet the production team, do a sound check and reassure everyone that you are good to go! Don’t forget to have fresh batteries in your wireless microphone at the beginning of the conference and always have a back up set.
8. Provide good lighting that clearly illuminates the speaker and podium.
This helps direct the audience’s attention on the speaker and keep it there. Ideally, the audience should be dimmed, but not dark. The speaker will want to read the audience’s reactions and adapt the speech accordingly, as needed.
9. Schedule mealtime speeches to start after the conclusion of food service.
To avoid noise and distractions, keynotes held after a breakfast, lunch or dinner should begin after the wait staff has finished clearing the meals. It is very difficult for speakers to retain everyone’s attention when they have to compete with the din of service and lingering conversations. If time limitations are a challenge, pre-set the dessert and have coffee offered right after entrees have been served. Final clearing should be done after the keynote.
10. Observe, Enjoy and Evaluate.
Enjoy the fruits of your labor by watching the speaker’s presentation. Observe the audience’s reaction and monitor engagement. Did you get the results you anticipated? Evaluations sent after the program are ideal opportunities for capturing the thoughts of attendees and helping you launch next year’s selection process with solid criteria for planning the next search for the right keynote speaker!

Weather & Winter Woes: Coming Out Ahead of the Storm.

Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 11:08 Weather & Winter Woes: Coming Out Ahead of the Storm

Our most recent storm here in the Northeast, which began its trouble earlier in the Midwest, is another reminder how important proactivity and communication are when dealing with speaker travel arrangements. The truth is, it’s not just a winter or a location specific problem. All year long there are a series of independent forces wreaking havoc on the best laid travel plans. Our program managers are always looking at the national weather map, tracking speakers originating and destination cities, looking for any potential problems.

Here’s a case example of a situation here at Goodman Speakers during the Blizzard of 2015.
When forecasters began to up the severity of Juno early Sunday morning, our program managers immediately looked at the calendar and began to see which speakers could potentially have issues. We had one speaker originating from the Qatar in the Middle East, heading to Midwest for a program on Tuesday. The speaker had also hoped to stop at home for a night in New Jersey. After seeing the flight cancellations beginning to pile up, we immediately contacted the speaker’s office and strongly encouraged them to change the flight, bypass home and go straight to the event. Thankfully, they all agreed and the speaker changed his flight that day so that the speaker would arrive at his destination on Monday without too much headache, just 28 hours of travel…

Meanwhile, our team had a backup speaker in mind, on the outside chance the original speaker experienced any more delays or cancellations.

What did and can we all learn from these situations:

  • Be proactive: don’t wait until flights are cancelled
  • Communication: make sure everyone is aware of the potential problem and agree upon a solution, early on.
  • Have a backup plan

Also, don’t forget about any fee or rate increases the speaker and client may incur with the changing schedule, this may include a fare increase, change fees, additional accommodations, etc.

Stay calm, communicate often, and it doesn’t hurt to cross your fingers, because sometimes luck does play a role in having a successful event.

How Meeting Planners Should Work with a Speakers Bureau

Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 07:06

You are planning a conference and you need a great keynote speaker to close out the conference on the final evening of the event. Someone who can engage the audience, drive home the message from the executive team, and fire up the attendees.  You need someone who gets it.  A lot is riding on this conference.  Your company is spending a lot of money and you cannot afford to misstep on the big finale. You start with a simple Internet search but soon realize there are literally thousands of choices.  One speaker home page looks like the next.  How can you know who is going to do not just a good job, but a great job?

The things is, you can't know.  That's the time to talk to a speakers bureau. Speakers bureaus have invested time developing relationships with hundreds of speakers.  They know who delivers, and who might prove inconsistent or risky.  The first step is to pick up the phone and call your speakers bureau and discuss what you need.

Things to know before you call

  • Date and location of  the meeting.
  • Is there a strategic message that you are trying to communicate? Or, program theme?
  • Male/female ratio and average age.
  • Educational background of attendees.
  • Which division/department of the company/organization are they from?

Things the Goodman Speaker Bureau will ask you about your meeting

We will be looking for insights from you. You might be surprised how these questions allow us to recommend the right keynote speaker for your event.

  • What challenges is your industry, organization or audience facing?
  • What personal interests inspire your executive team? Are they fans of a particular sport? Are they strictly business, or do the appreciate humor, music, creative-thinking, or science?
  • What are your expectations of the keynote speaker to help you communicate the message of the meeting?
  • What ideal “take away” would you like the speaker’s presentation to deliver? 
  • Beyond the keynote, are there other expectations of the speaker? (i.e., question & answer session, book signing, reception attendance, follow-up webinar) 
  • How important do you feel the outside speaker is to the overall success of the meeting?
  • What is the budget for the speaker?

After the initial call, we will propose a list of speakers (with biographies, head shots, fee ranges and related video) we feel would be a great fit for your meeting.  But before you choose, allow us to arrange a conference call between your team and the speaker, so you can be sure that keynote speaker can really communicate the message.

Once you have selected a speaker, we go to the contract phase.  At this point, you will want to be sure you account for any requests or details you require of the speaker.  If you want the speaker to play a round of golf with the CEO the morning of the big closing keynote, that should be outlined in the contract.  If the speaker is a former NFL star and you want him to autograph footballs for the leading salespeople of the district, that needs to be stipulated in the contract.  If you need 500 copies of the speakers book for every member of the audience, that too should be outlined in advance.  Yes, last minute changes do happen, and we as the speakers bureau can often amend an agreement after the fact, but it's best to get these details dealt with early and up front, in case an accommodation cannot be made.

Event Logistics

After all the contracts and speaker agreements are signed, the Goodman Speakers Bureau works with your team to provide logistic support.  We act as a liaison between the meeting planner and the professional speaker, communicating transportation details, A/V requirements, providing marketing materials to the meeting planning team for the event, and ensuring both parties have all the necessary logistic information.  We also arrange for pre-event conference calls to ensure the speaker and key members of the executive team are in sync and on message.  Most of our business speakers and thought leaders customize their message for the client, and often act in a consultative role to help companies and organizations communicate the right message.  No two speeches are alike, and whatever your business, we work with some extraordinary speakers who deliver the best speeches to your audience.  Some of our speakers use pre-event questionnaire to ensure the client is getting exactly what they are looking for in a presentation.  Additionally, we are one of the few bureaus who tracks the weather nationwide for possible issues with transportation affecting the arrival of a speaker. We are always looking ahead and planning alternative forms of transportation in case of a snowstorm or other unusual travel delay.

Follow up

After the event is over and our speaker has given a fantastic performance, we follow up with you, the event planner, to see how it went. Customer service and strong positive relationships are paramount to the Goodman Speakers Bureau, and your feedback always helps us deliver the best events.

Need a hand with your next event?  Let the Goodman Speakers Bureau help you select a winning speaker, and see it through to the standing ovation.  Call us at 800-875-2893.  Remember, it costs you nothing!  We only get paid if you book the speaker and we are paid by the speaker.  So what are you waiting for?  Let us help you hit your next event out of the park.

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