Researching and deciding on a session or keynote speaker who can deliver on an intended objective and truly resonate with an audience can be exhausting, if only because of the seemingly endless talent available in the marketplace today. Fortunately, the Internet and speaker bureaus have made it easier to decipher the vast ocean of speaker options and to narrow down choices based on search requirements.
Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to observe several speakers — some left me confused about their intended message, some who hit the mark, and some who inspired me to take positive action. The speaker experiences that didn’t hit the mark usually happened because of a lack of due diligence and management of the three key planning pillars. If the pillars are not managed correctly, you could get a less than stellar outcome.
Pillar 1: Know Your Message
The first pillar is the determination of a theme and message that aligns with your conference theme. Normally, you should do this before you select a speaker, though on occasion, decision-makers will have a specific speaker in mind and then build a theme around the speaker’s existing outline.
Pillar 2: Engage Your Audience
The second pillar embraces the thoughtful consideration of the audience interaction. What does your organization want the audience to “know, feel and do” during and after the session based on the speaker’s message.
Pillar 3: Engage the Speaker
The last pillar is the procurement process, which includes researching, calling speaker references, and contracting based on mutual understanding of the message and final concessions.
These three pillars combined will ensure the best opportunity to select the right speaker who will deliver the greatest return on investment and leave audiences engaged.
Six Extraordinary Speakers
These six speakers epitomize the art of public speaking. They are experts at engaging audiences, and their messages resonate long after the event is over.
Robert Fogarty Website
Speaker Category: Motivation, Inspirational, Photographer, Philanthropist, Storyteller
Robert’s story began under circumstances not intended to propel him to the national speaker circuit. As hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2009, Robert, unselfishly, was determined to capture the “heart” of the locals impacted. He was surprised to experience firsthand the resiliency of the people and continued his crusade by asking locals to write “love notes to the city” in an unconventional way, on their arms. His movement has evolved globally as he has traveled and captured individual inspirational messages from countries and cultures around the world.
As a speaker, Robert has crafted an emotionally charged narrative that will take audiences through his story. They’ll travel with him to meet the victims of hurricane Katrina, feel the promising, inspiring message of the New Orleans Saints’ to return to the Super Bowl stage, and relive iconic events like the Boston Marathon through his engaging storytelling. As a “priceless” value add, Robert will set up a mobile studio and photograph personal messages from attendee-goers, edit those images onsite and provide a copy to display during the event.
Terri Sjodin Website
Speaker Category: Author, Consultant, Sales, Personal Growth
Terri has authored three best-selling books: New Sales Speak; Small Message, Big Impact; and most recently, Scrappy. She is the quintessential sales trainer, speaker, and consultant with a sole purpose to elevate organizational sales teams to peak perform. Her presentation delivery and message are effective — she infuses humor into her storytelling and leaves participants with take-home simple tips and best practices they can use in their work and home lives. Her newest book, Scrappy, builds on Small Message, Big Impact with sales techniques that are unconventional in modern sales training tactics. Scrappy gives freedom to entrepreneurially minded sales individuals to reimagine the sales experience and to think and act big!
Scott Burrows Website
Speaker Category: Author, Communications, Motivational, Personal Growth, Sales, Storyteller
Scott has an amazing story of not letting anyone alter his life’s journey. Scott had his whole life in front of him, including playing college football for Florida State under Bobby Bowden and being a top ranked kick-boxer champion. But his world and dreams were shattered when he was in a critical car accident which left him paralyzed from the chest down. That is when he heard he would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Through his inner perseverance and inspiration from those closest to him, Scott defied the odds and has risen to new heights personally and professionally. Scott has a best-selling book, Vision, Mindset and Grit, which has inspired audiences to rise up to any challenge in life, work, and the marketplace.
Michael Abrashoff Website
Speaker Category: Author, Change, Ethics, Human Resources, Leadership, Management, Military, Motivational, Productivity, Teambuilding
Michael is a former Navy Commander and author of three books: It’s Your Ship, It’s Our Ship, and Get Your Ship Together. He was assigned to the worst performing ship in the Navy and turned it into the fleet’s best ship in less than 12 months. Michael’s story resonates on many levels, especially with organizations that are looking for a transformation in order to increase morale, efficiency, and productivity. Through Michael’s leadership roadmap, he was able to change the culture and attitude of the crew, which were vital to the ship’s success. In his speaking engagements, Michael gives several examples of how he was able to achieve the impossible by leading by example and embracing employees at all levels in order to accomplish desired outcomes.
Speaker Category: Author, Celebrity, Motivational, Storytelling, Artist, Philanthropist
Jewel is an acclaimed American singer, songwriter, actress, poet, painter and philanthropist. She also has two bestselling books, A Night Without Armor and Never Broken. Her amazing life story began on the frontier of Alaska, where she traveled on foot through Mexico and lived in her car before being discovered in a San Diego coffee shop. Jewel mesmerizes audiences with her genuine ability to deliver her life’s journey through storytelling and, yes, singing her amazing award-winning songs throughout the presentation. A definite “feel good” presentation that will leave audiences inspired, motivated and a fan for life!
Jason Jennings Website
Speaker Category: Author, Change, Leadership, Management, Marketing, Storytelling
Jason has authored several New York Times bestselling books, including The High Speed Company, The Reinventors, Think Big Act Small and Hit the Ground Running. The last book was one of the main influencers that moved me to introduce him to my employer’s executive team for our national sales conference. Jason’s ongoing passion and commitment to uncovering the essence of why companies are successful is unparalleled and entertaining. In preparation for his speeches, Jason works closely with organizations to tailor his speech based on their session’s objectives.