Product launches, team building staff events and gala awards ceremonies are the staple diet of the public speaker.
I hope by the time you reach the end of this article, you’ll have enough cool content to be able to enhance your own public and keynote speaking or your hiring of inspirational, business, motivational and comedy speakers.
Well at least, I am telling you the plan in advance.
This builds expectations, clarifies the objectives and allows you to decide at the end whether it was all worth the effort. Or not.
Let’s begin… There are certain ways to make a corporate workshop or dry wall climbing afternoon successful and they all rely on one basic skill.
But communication is both the easiest and the hardest bit to get right.
Let me explain.
Communication is not about ‘what YOU say’ instead it’s actually about ‘what THEY recieve’.
You can talk for ever about the most compelling subjects, but unless they pay attention and consider the validity of every word or phrase, you might as well be readng stuff from the dictionary.
So how do you keep them engrossed?
Well firstly, you need to put feedback systems in place.
For a live performer these are a combination of
a) monitoring the energy of the audience.
b) checking for clues that they are paying attention (nods, eye contact, lack of fidgeting and head-counting to see that nobody has left the room yet).
c) getting the audience to take ownership of the experience, so they know that the two way process of communication needs their participation too.
As this isn’t an article on ‘team building’ (I will do one on that another time) I want to suggest 8 tricks and techniques to enhance your communication.
1. Establish in advance what the anticipated end result will be.
This applies equally whether you are being hired as a speaker or writing a cheque out for one.
2. Marry the performance and content to the demographics of the audience.
Everyone IS NOT the same as you, so give them what THEY WANT! Not what you assume they will grow to love… eventually.
3. Make sure the set up is exactly what you need to do your best.
As most sound and light equipment will have to be hired in seperately and a budget created for this, no-one likes surprises. The speaker needs to be heard and the organiser needs to be able to pay for everything.
4. Prepare for all worst case scenarios – just in case.
What if you are outside and it rains?
What if the buses arrive late/early and you have to entertan them for another two hours?
What if someone has a baby (yes, it does happen)?
5. Agree the fee.
Whatever the fee, both sides must be happy to go ahead. Often organisers think the fee is very high, but they must remember that this is how the entertainer makes his/her living. They don’t do a 9-5 job for a guaranteed wage, so they charge more than you would. If you can do their job as well as them, it’s time to quit your job and become a professional speaker.
6. Agree the payment terms and dates of delivery.
Usually 50% up front to secure the booking or 100% if the event means travelling abroad. The remainder must be paid on the evening of the performance or at an agreed date.
7. Ask if there is anything that hasn’t been discussed.
Sometimes a deal breaker can be a tiny thing, other times nobody wants to mention the elephant in the room. If something looks like a duck, sounds like a duck and feels like a duck – it’s probably a duck.
– The same is true for unsaid issues.
8. Enjoy the experience.
Life is too short and it’s not a dress rehearsal so whatever the outcome, never take it too seriously, nor too lightly.
Let’s face it, the audience aren’t going to kill you.
Unless you are very very bad.
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