That's the main reason why
a professional speaker serves you well.
- The professional does not arrive just in time. He does
arrive way ahead of time, usually the night before he is scheduled
He knows the value of a good night's
rest so he can be in peak condition for your event. He does not
trust a tight flight connection or the last possible flight. He
knows cabs often can't be found. So he leaves his locale with
plenty of time to arrive relatively unstressed.
- The professional does not steal your thunder. He does
blend with your goals.
He knows your event has been
carefully planned to achieve specific company or association
objectives. With great care, he plans his presentation to dovetail
with the objectives you thoughtfully described to him.
- The professional does not speak off the cuff. He does
prepare a proper presentation.
Your assemblage may believe the professional is an ad lib
artist, or a friendly communicator who just happened to think of a
particular remark at a particular time. The truth is: the
professional speaker has planned, timed and rehearsed those
brilliant remarks. He gives a studied performance to suit your
Yes, he modifies his remarks when on
your stage -- to suit your audience. But he knows that an
off-the-cuff speech or keynote or seminar falls flat on its face
far more often than drawing a standing ovation. That's why you
hear him as a warm, inventive, think-on-his-feet speaker, when he
is actually extending his full faculties to appear that way with
his totally-prepared presentation.
- The professional does not give a canned address. He
does read your audience.
Oh, he may open his presentation with a few lines from his
personal repertoire. But while your delegates concentrate or
chuckle at his opening, he is using that opening as study time --
time to read faces, to notice itchy bodies, to get a feel for
audience warmth or lack of it, to determine an audience's mood, to
gauge reactions to his voice level or speaking pace, to decide
whether these folks have been sitting there too long.
Then, while no one notices, he makes adjustments -- adjustments
in his outside temperament, his body language, his inflections,
his emphasis points, his pitch, his pace, his face.
The information or material he presents will be just as he
planned it with you, but you'll see an audience that becomes more
enthused and involved as the professional continues.
And as he continues, he makes more changes, again to adapt to
your attendees. That's why his concluding remarks get applause.
Because he IS not in front of your
audience. He is with your audience.
- The professional does not get his training at your expense.
He is fully trained.
You shouldn't, but you can surprise him with a radio
microphone, videotape cameras, alternate chalkboard media, extra
flip charts, a new room arrangement, simultaneous or transition
translation. He knows how to handle those situations.
That's important to you when the a/v people sleep late, or the
conference facility places the electrical outlets where you didn't
want them, or the hotel setup crew thinks a blackboard is a wooden
board painted black.
And how important that professional
training is to you when the caterer is 10 minutes late with your
coffee break! After all, You planned that meeting and You can't
allow all those wonderful people to get fidgety wondering where
the coffee is. Relax. The professional can handle it smoothly.
- The professional does not complain or make you look bad
when things don't go precisely right. He does adapt to the
situation so you look good.
Can things go wrong? Frequently. But usually it's not your
fault. Imagine this situation:
You succeeded in getting 126 Danish executives you never met to
pay a hefty fee to hear your American speaker present marketing
techniques in a Copenhagen hotel ballroom. He's just switched them
from speaking Danish to listening to American English with a slide
and sound presentation, when a workman outside the hotel cuts one
cable and the entire hotel is plunged into darkness.
No mics. No slides. No lights. No tapes. No sound system. But
my seminar proceeded, for an hour and quarter in the dark, and no
one walked out. (Blackout audiences in Anaheim, Oakland and New
York were harder to handle.)
Why do I tell you this story? Because the most
carefully-planned meeting, orchestrated by the most skillful
planner, can run into Murphy's Law.
The professional does not panic. He
does hold your audience.
- The professional does not surprise you. He does convey
the information or present the program material for which You
You may agree in advance that he can distribute certain
materials, but they are subject to your review.
You may agree in advance that he should use certain references
to your company, your industry, your field, your members, but he
will not use those references disparagingly.
You may be startled to see last-minute guests of your
attendees, and perhaps they won't fit the general description of
your delegates. But the professional won't use any denegrating
remarks, or ethnic jokes, or puns that might embarrass you to
those delegates who brought their friends.
If there's one male in your female
audience, he'll feel right at home. Vice versa? Of course. How can
you know for sure? Because the professional does not use verbal
crutches to communicate. He does communicate naturally.
- The professional does not shock you. He does set and
agree to all charges in advance.
Since his fee and airfare are paid in advance, you have no
surprisingly higher bills later. His meals and his ground
transportation and his hotel bills? Don't worry. He won't take 16
friends out for filet mignon on your bill.
A cordial or two? Not before he speaks.
And he probably will thank you for
offering him that filet just before he speaks. But he'll take a
rain check. He is a pro, and he does know, that a tummy show is a
- The professional does not wait until the last minute to
decide what he'll speak about. He does develop his
presentation in advance and hone it finely.
To do this, he'll ask you questions about your group. He's not
prying. He knows he can do a better job for you if you can define
your audience as corporate ladder climbers or self-made
entrepreneurs, executive mothers or hand-holding nurses,
salespeople or sales managers. All are fine, but what a difference
advance info means to a successful speaking engagement!
Your answers to his questions will
enable him to form an outline. Then he'll construct his
presentation from his existing material, modify it for your event,
rewrite, create some original material strictly for your
attendees, rehearse, think it through again, and then review it at
least umpteen times more.
- The professional does not steal material from other
speakers. He does use strictly original material in an
original way, so you never have to worry that your audience may
have "heard that before".
Yes, he may quote a reference source
or a famous person, or he may tell a story about someone your
group would recognize or use a mini case-history that demonstrates
a point. That's part of the art of speaking. But he'll never claim
he originated something that Johnny Carson said.
- The professional does not treat your event lightly. He
does treat speaking seriously because that's his way of earning a
That's why he's always "on stage" from the moment he arrives in
Much like the professional footballer who psyches himself up
for a Sunday afternoon, your pro speaker thinks only of your group
on the plane, while dining, while showering, while walking to the
podium. He is 100% your man (or woman) for the time you have hired
him -- and he will not permit anything to come between him and an
So please excuse him if he excuses
himself from your night-before tour of the town. He'll probably go
back to his hotel room, study and rehearse some more, and wish he
was partying with your guys. The next day, he will be!
- The professional does not end his presentation late, or
early. He does use his speaking time meaningfully,
interestingly, helpfully, engagingly.
Running on at the mouth would not be fair to your program
schedule. Ending early creates nervous vacuums.
Your life is so much easier with a
professional, because he recognizes that you have timed your
program for very good reason.
- The professional does not depart immediately after his last
words. He does make himself available to your attendees for
their private questions, their individual problems seeking
resolution, and -- yes, their kind comments on all the work he did
to prepare and deliver.
He knows that "I only came for the
show" is a slight to you and your guests. So he'll handshake and
mingle a bit, as appropriate to the nature of the event. Perhaps
you'll be at his side to share these moments.
- The professional does not pitch you for additional
engagements immediately after his conclusion. He does remain
attentive to your program concerns at all times.