I love what I do. Keynote Speaker, Moderator, Interviewer and Strategic Conference Host.
If I had to pick a favourite it would be the Hosting Role. When I take it on I become the Conference Quarterback that helps you engage your audience, weave a core idea throughout all of your content, ask the speakers questions that deserve answering.
It took me thirty years of developing brand strategies across every industry sector, and another five years working in television and radio, to gain the experience I need to add value to your event.
Today attention spans are waning, and everyone in your audience is equipped with an escape route from your content - via their mobile phone.
Let me share some of my secrets for keeping the audience engaged and inspired...
Opening: Invite the Audience on a Journey
Every adventure story needs a strong opening that invites you on a journey to realize the desired outcome. A meeting is no different. I begin by introducing a core idea that can weave together all of the content and activities. I then invite the audience on a quest to fill their bag with content and experiences that will enhance their lives and livelihood. In doing so they go from observers to participants. They have skin in the game.
Main Stage: Less is more.
Audiences today are visually sophisticated, seasoned multitaskers and easily distracted by their mobile phones that put the world they covet within arms reach. They are not conditioned to be captive or bridled.
To counter their restlessness I recommend you borrow from Ted Talks and limit most presentations to twenty minutes. This encourages speakers to get to the point. Also, publish creative guidelines for slides to ensure your audience doesn't slip into a Powerpoint coma.
After each talk, I interview the presenter on stage which enables us to accomplish three goals.
Ask the questions the audience wants to answer.
Spike the critical points of the presentation.
I can add insights and observations connected to our core idea while advancing the quest that the audience is on.
Panels: Make it an interactive Talk Show.
I moderate a panel the same way that I host a radio or TV show. I prepare, I draw upon the strengths of the guest, and I never ask the same question to different panellists. My job is to create and maintain flow and interaction, to mine for nuggets and to summarize the key learnings for the audience.
Fireside Chats: Humanize and Personalize
I have interviewed CEOs, Generals, Entrepreneurs and Celebrities on stage and in the media. My role is to humanize their larger-than-life persona and to personalize the stories to benefit the needs of my audience.
Closing: Eyes Shining. Hearts Beating.
Meetings are discretionary and a major investment of time and money. Both are being scrutinized in a world where every penny counts. The closing remarks are your final opportunity to earn exceptional ratings and perception of value. When your attendees and sponsors return to work and are asked 'was the conference worth it?' they say yes with passion and can succinctly give their reasons why.
My closing remarks are brief but emotionally charged. I want eyes to be shining and hearts to be beating. To do so I begin by reminding them of the core idea, their quest and the promise to fill their knapsacks. I review the key learning by compressing the entire agenda into powerful soundbites of learning. I then conclude by having them reflect on what it meant to come together as a culture with purpose and one that realized the strength in both the content and in each other.
A powerful opening, a core idea woven through all of your content, engaging sessions and panels, fireside chats and a tight summary. That is the role of a strategic conference host.
I have 17,000 Linked in Followers, and my page often generates 100,000 views a week. I am also on television and radio weekly. I am there to help you promote your event. Here is an example from Restaurants Canada...
In 2020 this will be my fifth year hosting their Thought Leadership Session and their Breakfast of Champions.
And here I am in the media talking about DisruptED, a conference I am hosting again next year:
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