Mountain air brought the winds of change to our industry.
One year ago this month, I took my team away to the mountains of North Carolina for an annual strategy retreat. We had all been working hard and it was time to celebrate growth and achievement, but the celebration didn’t last…
I encouraged the team to unplug and soak up the beautiful scenery. In the afternoon, however, we decided to allow a quick email check. And that’s when it happened.
The first email was to cancel a keynote speaker because of fears about the possible ramifications of a virus on an event planned for October. October? That email was followed quickly by others with a similar theme. It became very clear very quickly: Something big was happening. And it was going to affect our business.
What it took to survive and thrive in 2020:
The impact on our industry was sudden and significant. It was necessary to be flexible, creative, and nimble when considering solutions. It truly was a case of being willing to change our business model in order to survive.
It took experimentation, innovation, and incredible resilience, but we found new ways for our keynote speakers to continue to reach audiences and provide value.
Our speakers have amazed me with their willingness to learn, to pivot, to simply do what needed to be done to deliver outstanding experiences to their clients and audiences.
The skills and abilities our speakers used to survive and thrive in 2020 are the same ones they will use going forward.
Today I want to talk about five of the skills that are MOST important for top speakers to succeed in 2021.
# 1 Speakers must deliver relevant content.
The presentations speakers gave prior to 2020 are likely not relevant in this COVID-world. Nearly every industry experienced dramatic challenges and changes to the way they do business. Work itself looks very different – many are still working at home full or part-time, often surrounded by family members.
Speakers in 2021 need to provide value by addressing the changing needs and priorities of their audiences. Their topics need to resonate with those experiencing this changing marketplace. They must meet audience members where they are and address the obstacles and challenges they are facing now.
I was wowed by how our speakers rose to this challenge. They pivoted quickly and developed presentations that were timely and relevant, addressing the current needs of audiences. Check out these new offerings from some of our outstanding keynote speakers:
- Jay Baer’s Rewire
- Marcus Sheridan’s Virtual Sales Mastery
- Colette Carlson’s Connected Leader
- Joey Coleman’s What’s Next?!
- Shasta Nelson’s Apart But Not Alone
# 2 Speakers must have home-studio professional equipment.
Event organizers demand speakers who can present virtually. The need for keynote speakers who can deliver their message remotely, with impact, continues to grow. In order to do this, speakers must have the right equipment.
Top virtual presenters provide an outstanding audience experience. That includes:
- No technical problems.
- Lighting that highlights the speaker’s face, making it easy to see and read expressions.
- Clear audio through the use of high-quality microphones.
- High-quality visual aids and images used throughout the presentation.
- The use of breakout rooms for deeper engagement and interaction.
Several Michelle Joyce Speakers are “Certified Virtual Presenters,” an accreditation from eSpeakers.
This accreditation lets clients know a speaker has the skill, equipment, and environment necessary to deliver an effective remote presentation.
# 3 Speakers must be relatable.
Now, more than ever, it’s vital that speakers connect with their audiences. This is true whether those audiences are in person, virtual, or a combination of the two. People crave connection and understanding.
Top speakers in 2021 find new ways to connect with and relate to their audiences. That might mean including polls and Q&As in virtual presentations or getting informal before or after the presentation in a virtual happy hour or coffee talk. It’s all about being creative and making those true connections.
# 4 Speakers must be nimble and willing to evolve.
This year taught us how quickly things can change. We witnessed our worlds – professional and personal – change overnight.
The people and businesses who not only survived 2020, but found a way to thrive, embraced the need to pivot. To be nimble. To be willing to change their focus, strategy, or delivery to meet current needs. This was true for our clients and was just as true for our speakers.
Our keynote speaker Alan Stein, Jr. is a perfect example. A client chose to move forward with an annual spotlight event – this time fully virtually. Alan was immediately on board. Delivering his keynote speech to an empty ballroom was a first. But for those watching the Livestream, the experience was just as good as if they’d been sharing the same room. Read more about how the client, venue, and speakers worked together to provide an enjoyable and value-packed experience for the audience.
Alan says it well: “If you want to be the best, you have to practice. And if you want to put on an amazing event, you to have to practice – simulate what that looks like for everyone.”
# 5 Speakers must be educated about new trends & technology.
Trends in events and the technology that makes them happen change almost daily. Top speakers must stay on top of the latest and greatest. Speakers can establish themselves as trusted resources and top choice speakers by staying knowledgeable and implementing new tech solutions into their own presentations.
Check in with Brian Fanzo, Michelle Joyce Speaker and “guru of all things virtual speaking”, as he shares his tips, strategies, and best practices for delivering virtual presentations with maximum impact.
Successful speakers in 2021 and beyond.
Will events ever return to what was normal before 2020? Maybe not. But the messiness of “figuring it out” led to some incredible discoveries. We now have new technologies and new methods to deliver messages, allowing more people than ever before to participate.
Audiences will continue to expect, deserve, and demand value. And those speakers who want to be at the top of their industry will need to stay nimble, knowledgeable, and relevant.
For more information on keynote speakers for hybrid, virtual, and in-person company meetings or events, we’d love to connect with you HERE.