Corporate Keynote Speakers: Tips for Choosing the Best!
Meeting planners have quite a challenge when it comes to choosing the right corporate keynote speaker for their conference, meeting, or event. I’ve discovered that nearly every speaker who has ever been paid to speak will happily tell you how great they are. I live in the convention capital of the world – Las Vegas – so I receive countless invitations from speakers who want me to attend their sessions here. A few years ago, I stopped going to see them. Here’s why: THEY JUST WEREN’T VERY GOOD!
Corporate Keynote Speakers tend to get excited about their business – their topics, their travels, and their presentations. And, if you listen to them, you will come away believing that they must be amazing speakers. I used to get dressed up, drive over to the strip, and sit in their meeting rooms – listening and watching their presentations. This is a great exercise for ANY professional speaker because it becomes very easy to discern the great speakers from the not-so-great. What I find most incredible is that they ALL tend to THINK they are brilliant! I’ve only seen a FEW speakers in the past few years that – if I were a meeting planner – I would pay $10K+ to bring them in as my corporate keynote speaker.
What Makes a Corporate Keynote Speaker Good … or BAD?!
I stopped going to see corporate keynote speakers in Las Vegas a few years ago because most of their presentations were lackluster and boring….and there are several categories of “boring”! There are those who have “Death by PPT” – black and white slides with endless bullet points, often where the audience is expected to FILL IN THE BLANKS, ie:
“Marketing can be _____ if done correctly.” REALLY? I sat through a marketing presentation from a speaker who told me how incredible he was, how he captivated his audiences, and that was exactly what he delivered. To make matters worse, he tossed out little plastic fish to anyone who guessed the right answer. I am guessing this was a play on Harry Paul’s book “FISH” – in which Harry shares how the people working in the fish market in Seattle turned a horrible job into fun by throwing the fish back and forth. But, this speaker was NOT Harry Paul and before long, the audience only cared about catching a fish, rather than any content. Marketing is an exciting field – and if your content can’t stand on its own then you shouldn’t call yourself a “Marketing Speaker”!
I made the decision to stop going to see corporate keynote speakers after watching a $12,500 keynote speaker stand in the middle of the stage at the Wynn in Las Vegas and bore an entire audience for an hour. I liked the guy, but his presentation was as dull as a butter knife! He even told Russel Conwell’s story of “Acres of Diamonds” – which is one of the most incredible stories about finding success in your own backyard (or chosen career field) – and this corporate keynote speaker somehow managed to make THAT seem boring. Another speaker who was on the program at the event sat next to me, sleeping soundly. The attendees in the row in front of us had turned around to ask if we were going to eat the biscotti and cookies the Wynn had put in front of each guest. NO ONE was listening!
Great Corporate Keynote Speakers Offer VERIFIABLE Testimonials & Video
Before you hire a Corporate Keynote Speaker, ask them for a few testimonials – including the contact information from the person who gave it. On my profile with eSpeakers.com, I have several verified testimonials from members of Meeting Professionals International, clients, and attendees.
Next, you want to see a current, relevant video clip of a corporate keynote speaker. Ask them for a raw clip – like the one I’ve posted in this blog. ANY speaker can look amazing with enough editing – and there is nothing wrong with a beautiful demo reel. But, I know speakers who have hired producers to put together clips of them speaking and the audiences aren’t even real! They will stage a presentation and make it look as if the speaker is in front of 1,000 guests, setting the room on fire! I know a speaker who paid more than $15,000 to a producer who did this for her. Unfortunately, in one clip the audience was casual – jeans and backpacks – and in the very next glimpse, during the SAME story, they were in business attire! I’m afraid she didn’t get her money’s worth as the editing was so poorly done, it was obvious that it was a staged presentation. Also, she was in a black dress and boots, on a black riser, with a black drape behind her. Talk about a floating head!
Lastly, you want to see a sample of their presentation. Whenever I speak, whether on increasing sales, networking, The Art of the Business Lunch, how I produced my self-help film “The Keeper of the Keys”, or building business relationships, I use Garr Reynold’s PRESENTATION ZEN style of presenting. Each slide has one image on it, and that image supports an anecdote that carries a valuable lesson. I work very hard to be as entertaining as possible – mostly because I love to get a laugh or even a gasp from my audiences. AND I want to deliver rich content that will help them change the way they do business, particularly sales and building relationships.
Hopefully, these few tips will help you to choose only the very best corporate keynote speakers for your events. And, if you’re looking for a speaker who will empower your audience with solid takeaways in an entertaining program, I hope you will reach out to me.