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.

how to host an epic 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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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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5 Tips Meeting Planners Need to Choose an Event Theme and Rock Their Next Event

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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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What If?

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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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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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A Parable About What is Really Important

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I remember the first time I heard this simple parable about 15 years ago on the Pastor Steve Brown Radio show. I have used it several times with audiences over the years. I never knew the source until an exhaustive Google Search. It was adapted from is one of the most famous short stories from German writer Heinrich Böll. Post WWII he was very influential and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972.

It’s one little story with many little lessons that mean many different things to all kinds of people. Even if you have read it before it is worth another review because you may be in a different stage in your life than the last time you read it.

An American businessman took a vacation to a small coastal Mexican village on doctor’s orders.

Unable to sleep after an urgent phone call from the office the first morning, he walked out to the pier to clear his head. A small boat with just one fisherman had docked, and inside the boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of the fish.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American asked.

“Only a little while,” the Mexican replied in surprisingly good English.

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American then asked.

“I have enough to support my family and give a few to friends,” the Mexican said as he unloaded them into a basket.

“But…what do you do with the rest of your time?” the American asked curiously.

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How to Handle a Customer Service Problem

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Yes. We all love hearing that word. Your customers love hearing it too, especially when you are handling a customer service problem. A good friend was at the Greenbrier Resort for a special trip for their wedding anniversary. When he made his reservation he had mentioned it was his anniversary and that he would like a room with a beautiful mountain view.

When they arrived at the room, he was underwhelmed with view and mentioned it to the bellhop. She suggested he go down to talk to the concierge desk.

He went down to the concierge and he told them he had a problem. The concierge smiled and said, “No matter what your question is, the answer is YES!” That caught him off guard. He was not prepared for that one! “Can you repeat that please?” Again the concierge smiled and said, “No matter what your question is, the answer is YES!”

briefly explained the situation and the answer WAS yes! They were moved to a room with an amazing view. At dinner that night the manager brought them a bottle of champagne and wished them a happy anniversary. Wow! That is an amazing customer experience for them AND he said he has retold that story dozens of times over the past couple years.

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How many do you have left?

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Summer’s here, I’m for that. Got my rubber sandals, got my straw hat. Got my cold beer, I’m just glad that it’s here.” That is the opening line to a classic James Taylor song. You can listen to it here. If you’re not in a ‘summer mood’ yet,  you will be after listening to that. Virtually everyone I know seems busier than ever. Stress levels are high and summer has arrived just in time….and it will go by quickly.

I want to you challenge yourself to make this summer exceptional.

A good place to start is to sit down and brainstorm by yourself or with your family what will make it exceptional? When was the last time you did a simple search for fun things to do within a few 100 miles of where you live? You don’t have to take a long or expensive trip to have fun. TripAdvisor is an excellent resource to find ideas.

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Honey Can You Please Pass the Prozac? – Depression in America

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Honey can you please pass the Prozac? Maybe not as common as salt and pepper, but the last 20 years has seen a meteoric rise in depression and the use of anti-depressant drugs. The NY Times in 2013 reported that ONE IN TEN Americans and ONE in FOUR women in there 40’s and 50’s are taking the drugs. Are there really that many unhappy people in the USA who can not deal with these feelings on there own and need drugs (legal or illegal) in an attempt to change the way they feel? One in four…one in ten…that is really hard to comprehend. What is “depression”? When should drugs be involved? That article states the primary problem:

“Depression is being overdiagnosed on a remarkable scale.”

Real time update on this story. It is actually worse, NBC News in December 2016 reported – ONE IN SIX adults are taking anti-depressants. Usage has increased over 400% in the last 20 years and overdose deaths have quadrupled! Anti-depressants are the most prescribed drug in our country. Isn’t that amazing! It is a huge business over $13B.  We are blessed in the USA with so much abundance and reasons to be happy and optimistic. We have the richest country and have the highest rates of depression. Nigeria is desperately poor, corrupt in a legendary way, generally filthy and has a shortage of food and water. The depression rate is 0.8%, by far the lowest of all countries surveyed.

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Keeping Score and Personal Accountability

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Keeping score is fun! That is a belief that has served me well for my entire life. I think it started with my Dad and the way I was raised. He was a Ford dealer and from a young age I would go with him to the dealership on Saturday mornings to sweep, clean cars and a special pancake breakfast. I would make a few bucks for my efforts too!Dime Kitty crop

We started a savings account and I collected dimes in special holders to take to the bank for deposit. Anyone remember those? I still have about a dozen with Mercury dimes – these were called Dime Kitty. You saved 30 dimes per folder.

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Don’t Drop Your Bucket

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In my career of coaching 1000’s of sales professionals and leaders to get better, there is one strategy that will work EVERY TIME to improve your skills. For many they have NEVER done it or if they have it has been many years.

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How to Have a High Energy Day- PART 2

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How to have a high energy day – Part 1

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Malcolm Butler Super Bowl Hero

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I just got done watching the Superbowl. I grew up in Washington so I am disappointed in the play call at the end of the game. How do you know run the ball with Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, you only have a yard to go and it is second down with plenty of time left and a time out? They said he scores 87% of the time on 3rd or 4th down. Every other  Seahawks fan in the world is asking the same question. You virtually had the game won! Pete Carroll said he had a 3 receiver set in and the Patriots had their goal line defense in and he did not like the match up so they threw it. Call a time out and change your personnel! Russell Wilson could have not run the play and called a time out himself to change the play. Sorry but I am pissed! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! Then a miracle happened for the Patriots.

The player who secured the game for the Patriots was a long shot to make the team. Malcolm Butler went to a small Division II school called Western Alabama after he was kicked out of Hinds Community College. He was evaluated at the Alabama Pro Day according to NESN and at only 5”11” 190 his workout did not impress and he was not drafted. In the pre-season NESN reported that:

“Butler can’t burn up a track or jump out of gym, but he’s proven to be a playmaker on the practice field and in the Patriots’ first preseason game, when he allowed just two receptions on seven targets from Washington Redskins quarterbacks.”

He is a “proven playmaker”. It just goes to prove that talent is overrated. He was evaluated and deemed unworthy by the pro scouts and was not drafted and got his shot with the Patriots and made the most of it. At the Pro Day in Alabama they just measured him on short term physical tests.  They could not measure the intangibles – GRIT, TENACITY, HEART and the ability to make plays! In the post season interview he said before the play he saw himself making a play before it happened! That is a play maker. He said, “I did my job.” A Super Bowl hero.

 

 

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Start the New Year with Momentum

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Experience-photo.123927

We are 3 weeks into the year, have you set yourself up to win? Recently I did a global teleclass and captured the recording. Follow this link and you can listen to an interactive call to help you get plugged in and switched on! Your chance to reach your goals this year goes up ten fold when you take action.

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How to: Use Your Smart Phone to Make Role Play and Training More Valuable

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You’ve probably seen the research that says in order to get better, you must get deliberate practice. The key to deliberate practice is quality feedback. What most people don’t know is that the best way to get this quality feedback is via video and audio recording with a device that most people use on a daily basis; their smart phone.

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How to Keep a Journal

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Going Old School – How to: Stand Out

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Cards are sent so rarely today that when you do, you stand out. When you take the time to send someone a card – be it your customers or business associates – it shows that you appreciate them. This video includes several great tips and ideas on how to leverage this system of card giving for your business or for yourself personally.

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How to: Use a Checklist to Improve Workplace Performance

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John McGrath Testimonial

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Improve the Motivation and Communication of your Team: The Value of a Huddle

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Corporate Motivational Speaker

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When it comes to your next event, the right speaker can have a huge impact on the energy, interaction and success of your event…and make you a superstar as the meeting planner. And here’s the thing…there’s a HUGE difference between a “good” speaker and a “great” speaker. Please watch the video or call to find out more.

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The Key to Living a Heart Healthy Lifestyle

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Do you have what it takes to become one of the 3% of Americans living a heart healthy lifestyle? I offer several easy tips that you can quickly implement into your everyday routine to get you on the fast track to living a healthier lifestyle.

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Behavior Change – A Streak Starts with One

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Long-term change only happens when you’re committed, never when you’re interested. My belief is that every behavior change comes from one committed decision. What decisions do you need to make today?

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Personal Achievement Guru Brian Tracy

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Brian Tracy is a Canadian entrepreneur, public speaker, author and personal and professional development trainer. The video is Brian’s endorsement for Chip Eichelberger.

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