4 Meeting Planner Hacks Customizing Your Event’s Keynote

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As a meeting planner, you can tell when someone is giving a speech they’ve given a hundred times. It’s never been changed – not personalized for a specific audience. 

I remember about 14 years ago I was speaking at a convention for Culligan. They had General Norman Schwarzkopf do the opening speech and I was the closing speaker. 

I was there sitting with Mike, the CEO. I remembered several years before we had the General speak at a Mastery Event with Tony. 

He delivered the exact same speech, word-for-word, I had heard when I was an audience member years before. 

Mike asked me what I thought after he was done. Diplomatically, I said, “He certainly added a lot of gravitas to the event. but if I did what he did, I would not have a business.” 

Mike asked what I meant. 

I said, “During his talk he did not even mention Culligan once!” 

Mike replied, “I had breakfast with General Schwarzkopf and I asked him if he wanted to know more about the company and he said no.” 

Sure, a reputable name like General Schwarzkopf may be inspiring, but without customizing the opening and closing keynotes to your event, that’s all it is.

If this has happened to you  before, it’s time to regroup and come up with some strategies to make sure this doesn’t happen EVER again. 

Here are four ways to customize your event and avoid a canned-speech-catastrophe, audience boredom, and failure.

1. Have a clear theme and an action-oriented tagline.

There’s no better way to tank your event than to not give it a specific direction. 

Your internal team should be working together – with you and each other – before the event to choose a theme and action-oriented tagline.

It’s also crucial that they work closely with the speaker to make sure everyone has the same vision and goals.

As you ask the different players what their desired outcome is, they’re more likely to buy in and create a seamless experience for the attendees.

It’s a good idea to encourage your opening and closing speaker (as well as workshop presenters) to keep the presentation to three main points. This ensures that your chosen conference theme doesn’t get lost in a bunch of unnecessary, off-topic information. 

Less IS more.

2. Communicate early.

Communication is one of the vital components for any meeting planner to put on a successful event.

But the conversations should begin well in advance of the actual occasion.

Let the speakers know that they should communicate their plan at least three weeks out.

This prevents them from creating a presentation on the fly – like, literally on the airplane en route to the event! This is often the standard.

Get them the necessary information they need to interview key individuals before the event takes place – and with plenty of time to get a hold of people.

Make sure you also discuss the specifics of how he or she will handle customer service, sales, distribution, etc. 

3. Before you hire a speaker, ask about process.

As a meeting planner, you understand that a keynote speaker’s presentation at the opening and closing of the event will be different than a speaker you bring in to do a training.

First and foremost, make sure you choose a speaker who can bring the right kind of energy for your event. 

But it’s also important that you find out how they’ll customize and personalize their presentation for your specific audience and organization.

Here’s an example of the process a speaker may follow to prep for a fresh, customized, non-canned speech:

  • Conducts website research.
  • Sends you, the meeting planner, a questionnaire to help her customize her keynote presentations to your organization’s needs and goals.
  • Schedules a phone conversation with you for further planning and clarification.
  • Reaches out to key participants via email or phone to get detailed information to integrate into the presentation.
  • Conducts necessary follow-up phone calls.
  • Creates a personalized handout for attendees.

The audience can tell when a speaker has done their homework and will appreciate how you’ve customized your event.

4. See what other people are doing

You’re missing out on a golden opportunity if you aren’t talking to other meeting planners who are already killing.

Ask other people what’s working for them, or better yet, talk to people in the audience and get their feedback.

Incorporating their insights into the event will add a ton of value for the attendees.

Customize your event for success

A meeting planner is only as good as the attendees’ experiences.

To get the most out of your next event, make sure you choose a clear theme with an action-oriented tagline, stay in regular communication with the speaker you’ve hired, and get the input of people working in the fields related to the theme.

Your audience will appreciate the level of thought and effort into your amazing, customized event.

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How to Maximize Your Professional Development to Stand Out From the Crowd [Video]

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You may be good at what you do.

But are you GREAT? 

There is a big difference between a professional and an amateur. 

Bridging the gap is up to you. 

The solution is to maximize your professional development.

In this video, I’ll show you how to go above and beyond to stand out in the crowd and achieve the success you’ve been striving for.

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A Parable About What’s Really Important

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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.

Where do your priorities lie?

Are you trying to make as much money as possible and retire on top? 

Or have you found the balance between your work life and investing in relationships with family, friends and activities you enjoy?

The following parable puts your choices in perspective

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4 Reasons to Reach Your Target Audience Using Video Testimonials

Posted by on Jun 18, 2019 in Motivation | Comments Off on 4 Reasons to Reach Your Target Audience Using Video Testimonials

Word-of-mouth is powerfully persuasive.

The Law of Social Proof says that when people are unsure what to do, they will look to what others have done before to make a buying decision.

McKinsey & Company in a recent study about “word of mouth” marketing reported that:

The influence of word of mouth is GREATER when the products or services being bought are relatively expensive or people need to conduct detailed research.

In the digital world, you can provide potential customers with good ol’ word of mouth with video  testimonials  – and increase your sales at the same time.

There ARE customers out there who love what you do and their lives may have changed because of your services or products.

Using their positive experiences to reach your target audience is a slam dunk for your business’ growth.

Let’s take a look at four of the most important reasons to use video testimonials to build your reputation and lend credibility to your brand – and the best methods for getting your unique message across to your audience.

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Celebrating My Mother: Not an Ordinary Obituary

Posted by on Jun 13, 2019 in Relationships | 7 comments

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 12/2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.

My mom passed away from a long illness in 2016, and my family asked me to write the obituary.

I know the typical obituary is a boring summary of a life, but I didn’t want to write the classic version.

Here is the obituary I wrote. Let it be an inspiration to honor and celebrate your loved ones.

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Seamless Meeting Room Solution for Wireless HDMI Plug and Play Presentations

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Do you hold meetings and presenter(s) need to share the screen? Usually that is not an easy task and cumbersome to say the least. BenQ has developed a new wireless technology  – InstaSh0w – to share Full HD presentations from a laptop even a phone with no software set up. You can connect to anything in moments with a HDMI input.

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9 Meeting Planners Tips to Put On a Killer Event – Every Time

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Becoming a sought-after meeting planner doesn’t happen by chance.

It takes hard work and dedication.

Even the most experienced event coordinator can benefit from these 9 meeting planner tips that can push your success over the top.

Let’s dive in.

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8 Tips to Build Credibility With Your Customers

Posted by on May 28, 2019 in Motivation, Personal Growth | Comments Off on 8 Tips to Build Credibility With Your Customers

One of the key ingredients of success is trust.

If your audience has no faith in you – or doesn’t see you as credible – you won’t get very far.


If you want to build credibility with your customers, you need to start documenting your success consistently via testimonials and reviews.

Show your clients how you are exceptional before, during and after the sale.

Seeing is believing, right?

Read on for actionable tips to help you gather testimonials and reviews, but first, let’s get down to some basics and a secret at the end that has worked for me that very few people do.

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Case Study In How To Drive Business Growth: Big Ass Fans

Posted by on May 21, 2019 in Motivation | 2 comments

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 5/2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.

Big Ass Fans!

You’ve got to admit that it IS a memorable name.

I was in Lexington, KY a couple years ago, and I had the opportunity to tour their offices and product development area with a client of mine in the building industry who is one of their customers.

They used to be called HVLS, as in High Volume, Low Speed.

Not too catchy.

They changed their name after their customers kept calling and asking if they were the ones who made “those big ass fans.”

They make them up to 24-feet wide and have some big ass goals to go along with their fans.

Let’s take a look at the strategy this company used to drive business growth.

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How to Build a Successful Weight-Loss Strategy [Video]

Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Personal Growth | Comments Off on How to Build a Successful Weight-Loss Strategy [Video]

You can’t outrun a Big Mac.

No matter how much you work out, you cannot out-exercise a bad diet.

One fast food meal like a burger, fries and soda can easily exceed 1120 calories.  

What if you added a shake and/or a desert? You’re now over 2000 calories!

The average adult walking at 3.5 on a treadmill will burn 350 calories in an hour. If you walked 3 hours at that pace, you STILL would not burn off that one meal.

No matter how much you exercise, a steady diet of fast food is going to work against you, your health, how you look, your energy level and the quality of your immune system.  

When you get down to the basics, the key to weight loss is all about eating fewer calories.

In this video, you’ll learn some really effective strategies to help you stay on track.

Watch the video now.

Are you ready to ditch the fast food and get on the path to a healthier lifestyle? It is not just how long you live, it is the quality of your life as you age!

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Sitting Is the New Smoking: How to Combat a Sedentary Lifestyle and Improve Your Energy [Video]

Posted by on May 7, 2019 in Motivation, Personal Growth | Comments Off on Sitting Is the New Smoking: How to Combat a Sedentary Lifestyle and Improve Your Energy [Video]

It’s truth time: Sitting may be killing you.

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Choosing a Conference Theme: 5 Ways Meeting Planners Can Get a Win

Posted by on Apr 30, 2019 in Meeting Planner | Comments Off on Choosing a Conference Theme: 5 Ways Meeting Planners Can Get a Win

You’ve got a big job to do.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or you drew the short straw, a lot is riding on your meeting-planner shoulders.

In fact, you could go so far as to say that an event is only as successful as the meeting planner behind it.

One of the most important parts of your job is choosing a conference theme. This may be your 30th anniversary and you really need a fresh idea. Or it might be your first time handling a large event and choosing a theme.

Use these tips below to choose a conference theme that will blow your audience away.

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A Letter to My 18-Year Old Son (Updated)

Posted by on Apr 23, 2019 in Relationships | 1 comment

Editor’s note: This post has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.

My oldest son turned 18 years old a few years ago.

It’s a milestone that I wanted him to remember and I struggled with what I could give him that would make a lasting impact.

I decided to write him a letter that could act as a compass that he can return to over the years to set his course in life.

I got the idea from someone else who had shared their letter. Perhaps you can get some ideas for writing a letter to your kids in the future. Speak possibility into their lives!

Here it is.

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Why Tracking KPIs Beats Winging It Every Time

Posted by on Apr 16, 2019 in Motivation, Personal Growth | Comments Off on Why Tracking KPIs Beats Winging It Every Time

“Don’t wish the business were easier, wish you were better.” -Jim Rohn

It’s easy to get into a slump.

It can happen gradually but, before you know it, there you are.

The culprit may be your attitude.

And your personal life – habits, relationships, etc. – affect your professional life.

What’s the remedy?

Managing some KPIs – Key Performance Indicators – can help you stay on track and reach your goals.

The good news is: You CAN program yourself for success.

Here’s what you need to know.

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1 Costly Mistake Meeting Planners Should NEVER Make

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Some mistakes are small.

Others have a much greater impact.

But there’s ONE costly mistake that you should always avoid.

Here’s the deal:

If you’re a meeting planner, you probably have some pressure from several directions: Attendees are expecting a great time, but your higher-ups are demanding that you stick to a tight budget.

Skimping on a speaker to save money is a bad move with dire consequences for your whole event.

Here are four negative outcomes of not hiring a speaker to open and close your event.

1. You won’t have an impactful session that people remember

Without the right speaker – or any speaker at all – you’re not giving the audience a guide.

An engaging speaker will captivate the audience right off the bat, ensuring that the event and the lessons learned there are ingrained in the minds of the attendees for a long time to come.

Here’s what you should look for in a speaker:

  • Fresh content that’s tailored to your audience.
  • A presentation that’s high-energy.
  • Inspiring the audience to take action.
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5 Tips Meeting Planners Need to Choose an Event Theme and Rock Their Next Event

Posted by on in Blog, Uncategorized, Written Blog | Comments Off on 5 Tips Meeting Planners Need to Choose an Event Theme and Rock Their Next Event

You’re good at what you do.

But sometimes even the best meeting planners get stumped.

Choosing a theme can be tricky.

After all, you want the event to be meaningful, memorable and motivating.

Here are some tips to help you pinpoint an event theme so that you provide an amazing experience for your team.

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Preserving a Legacy: 98 Questions to Ask Your Parents and Grandparents

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.

Jim Rohn taught me, “If life is worth living, it is worth recording.”

Now is the perfect time to capture the legacy of your parents, grandparents and other beloved family members.

Below is a list of potential questions to ask your parents, grandparents or anyone else in your family whose story you’d like to preserve.

Knowing the stories of your family can give you a deeper understanding of your parents and grandparents, but it also gives you greater insight into your own motivations and behaviors.

There are a lot of questions here. You don’t have to ask all of them, but the list is a good guide to get you started.

I used them to interview my dad four years ago. I wish I had done it earlier, BEFORE he was quite sick, going through chemo for lung cancer.

Chip Eichelberger's Mom

My mom, Dianne

I did it with my mom (pictured above) when she was in great health. The recordings came out very well and we’re glad we have them.

It would be amazing if I had these recordings from my grandparents! I only have one from my grandmother that was made in the early 1990’s when she was in her prime! She really loved to watch it, too, since she had never seen herself on TV.

It’s important to explain to your loved ones that you want to capture your legacy for future generations.

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The 4% Solution: A Simple Trick to Drive Personal Development [Video]

Posted by on Mar 12, 2019 in Motivation, Personal Growth | 0 comments

Four-percent isn’t a huge number.

But how would your life change if you started dedicating just 4% of your day, every day, to improving yourself and becoming more valuable. There’s a total of 168 hours in every week. Four percent of that is just 7 hours.

What if you invested 8%? What difference would that make in a year or a decade? Who could you become?

Investing an hour a day in your own personal development will pay off in huge ways  – like having a more positive attitude – and you’ll become more valuable.

What could you be reading, watching or listening to that will make a difference? What do you need to STOP reading, watching or listening to?

Are there people in your life who are a bad influence right now? Be very careful who you’re spending time with. Maybe you need some new friends or mentors!

Ready to invest? In this video, I share my proven “4% Solution,” and how it can change your life for the better.

Watch the video now.

Are you willing to set aside 4% of your day to self-improvement?

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What If?

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Why say “YES” in 2019!

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Finish Strong in 2018!

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I am going for 100! How about you?

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When was the last time you thought about how long you want to live? My goal is to make it to 100…but not just make it to 100. I want to feel good, mentally sharp and still playing and enjoying golf. How great would it be to have more time if you are blessed to have kids, grand kids and great grand kids.

The real question is not life span but I think it is health span or vitality span. If you are not on track right now and you know you need to get it together – WATCH THIS VIDEO now!

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Get Disgusted – Confronting Brutal Facts

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One of my hero’s and mentors Jim Rohn used to say that: “Disgust and resolve are two of the great emotions that lead to change.” I worked for Jantzen Sportswear as my first job out of college. I loved it. I had been promoted twice in four years and then suddenly fired after the 2nd time the company had been purchased and they cut the sales force in half.
I moved down to San Diego in a relationship I thought would last but soon broke up. I was discouraged and needed money. I took a job selling earthquake bracing for mobile homes. After  about 6 weeks I was crawling under a stinky mobile home in Escondido, CA and had a moment of clarity.
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Avoid Your biggest risk of SUDDEN DEATH

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I had another friend die this week of a sudden heart attack out of the blue. The #1 cause of death in America is heart disease and 42% of the time the first symptom is SUDDEN DEATH. The person never makes it to the ER. If you are on that track you need to take action NOW. You are your #1 Asset – the best gift you can give others is by taking great care of YOU!
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Start checking items off your bucket list now – don’t wait!

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Chip, Miryana, Carleen, Daniel

Do you have a bucket list or dream list or trophy list?  I believe we need to start checking off items and not wait until we “retire”. Take the opportunity to create the memories now. My wife and I just got back from a river cruise. We had never done any type of cruise together. The thought of being on a ship with 1000’s of people does not excite me. The AmaLea is a beautiful new ship and only had about 150 passengers and 50 crew. That intimacy really appealed to us and that you are cruising down the river, not on the ocean. There was always something cool to see. I have to admit that much of the nature scenery looked a lot like where we live in Tennessee.

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Quick Tip to Help You Increase Your Sales

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You have heard it said that everyone likes to buy but no one wants to be sold. Make it easier for people to buy and justify their purchase with this simple concept. This strategy will help you quickly increase your sales.

 Try to never let the price/investment be the first number that comes up in the conversation.

In my business for example, it is common to get a request to see if I am available for a specific date and to inquiry about my fee. I never reply yes/no and the #. I want to make sure to set up a call so I can ask questions to get information to properly frame the way they look at investing in me speaking at their event. I want to be a true partner and not just a “rental speaker.”

I am not the low cost provider in my industry. Some meeting planners are inexperienced and will get surprised when they hear how much a seasoned professional speaker can be. Framing the conversation is essential.

By asking questions to identify their key numbers I can do that: total sales of the company last year, what % increase in sales their goal is for this year, how many and who specifically is attending and why this event is so important.

If the company did $330 million in sales last year, expect a 10% or $33 million increase in sales, it is a once a year event and their top tier sales people are attending who generate 74% of their overall sales – my fee is MINISCULE compared to that!

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11 Ways to Have the Best Summer Ever

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Aruba with my family 2004

You will never get this summer back! I am not sure how old you are, but imagine you live until 80. Do the math. How many do you have left? If you have young children, there are only so many summers before they get so independent you hardly see them.

I have great memories as a kid of the basketball camps I attended, times at my aunt’s lake place, golf with my dad, lawn dart championships in the back yard (yes they did exist, now banned), floating the Little Spokane River in tubes, family picnics with my mom’s fried chicken, and the road trips in the family station wagon to cool places in the Northwest.

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When do you know you will be successful?

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Chip at Pure Romance

When do you know you will be successful? It really depends on how you are wired internally. Some will need to do something many times before they feel they competent. Others will get that feeling much quicker – in a moment. Remember when you got promoted to a new position or took on a new challenge in the past? Typically there is some fear or doubt for awhile as you struggled to find your way. You can question your ability to succeed. Doubt breeds fear and poor performance.


Then one day something special happens. It could have been a difficult sale you finalized or a project you completed and your boss gave you special praise. It could have been you see your success in advance so clearly you know it will happen. One moment can change everything!

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Breaking Through the Boring Convention

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What was the highlight from the last convention you attended? Can you remember the last one? What about five years ago….ten years ago? It is rare that you can. Would you say there were too many sessions you don’t remember, too many Powerpoint slides and not enough unique experiences that really stuck and got you involved?

I can promise you that when I get the opportunity to do my Breakthrough – Breaking Barriers Experience, it is remembered five, ten or every twenty years later! I just finished my new video about the program with the help of the team at Primeau Productions. I really think it turned out terrific and wanted to share it with you and ask a favor.

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Is Health Advice from 100 Years Ago Applicable Today?

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As you will soon see, 100 year old advice is very applicable today. This is the 100th anniversary of a classic book by Col. Wm. H. Hunter – THINK. I inherited it from my Grandmother and it was one of our favorites to read. Each chapter really makes you think. It is amazing how far forward he was thinking in 1918. If you request the full version you will get the whole story about Granny and the book.

I wanted to share chapter 32 to see what Col. Hunter had to say about exercise in 1918. You will see not much has changed: sedentary lifestyle, labor saving devices, using technology to make life easier, our reliance on doctors, fad diets, lotions, potions and pills.

If you would like to get a PDF of the entire version of THINK I will send it to you for free, just email me at Chip@GetSwitchedOn.com. It will make you think. I recommend 15 minutes a night. 

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