13 Lessons That Help Speakers Succeed
At the Financial Services Speakers Network, we hire primarily two kinds of speakers: subject matter experts and compelling motivational speakers. Often, they’re speakers I’ve known for many years, and most are NSA members. We run one 6-day Academy every quarter, where we train financial advisers. This is serious training for serious advisers.
We hire speakers for three main reasons:
• To achieve an objective or solve a problem
• To become part of our regular faculty to help train our advisers
• To inspire our adviser clients to implement our turnkey business model.
Our speakers must be excellent communicators and true subject matter experts in financial services or something else that is vital to our advisers’ success. The 13 speaker lessons I can impart are fairly fundamental, but these are the things that help speakers succeed with clients like me.
- Suspend your own agenda. Nobody hires you so you can get spin-off business, sell books or generate revenue at the back of the room.
- Focus on your client’s agenda. Why are they having this meeting? What business metrics do they hope to improve? What’s your role in achieving these results?
- Only prospect or follow-up with audience members if you have clear permission and it’s in alignment with a result that matters to the client. Always respect that boundary, even if you disagree with it.
- Prepare thoroughly. Go beyond understanding their jargon and titles. How can you help them better implement an internal tool or process? What business metrics will that improve?
- Understand where your paycheck is coming from. It’s often coming from exhibitors. When was the last time you walked around the exhibit hall, shook hands and thanked the exhibitors? (Yes, this could result in many more speaking opportunities for you, but that’s not the best motive.)
- Provide a specific and well-written introduction in using an 18-point font or larger.
- Show up on time, which means at least an hour before your session time. Know whom to call or text when you arrive at the venue. Schedule a specific time for the tech check.
- Meet deadlines for program titles, descriptions, pictures and slides.
- Have a process for preparation. This can include questionnaires, online research, and phone appointments.
- Provide a one- to three-minute video promo about how excited you are to be speaking at the event with some well-crafted information about what participants will learn.
- Familiarize yourself with the rest of the agenda, and attend as many of the other presentations as possible, especially those given by the CEO or other high-level executives.
- Be professionally generous. Offer to attend dinner the night before or lunch after your session.
- Say thank you, preferably with a handwritten note to the key people who hired you and the meeting planners.