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Custom Corporate Seminars

“Choose the seminar presenter’s attitudes before you choose the seminar”

Some revelations by John Farr on corporate keynote speeches:
There are literally thousands of seminars being taught every day. I’ve given hundreds and hundreds of seminars myself over the last 25 years and have reached some conclusions I will share with anyone.

First, the success of a seminar is not in how pretty a power point is or if there are moving graphics and a space age sound system to blare out at the attendees. Much of this, if used appropriately, can help communicate some points but they certainly don’t insure a successful gathering of folks to learn new skills and build their capabilities. Whenever I have a speaking date on my calendar I go into a “research and presentation construction stage” mode to guarantee at least one outcome from my talk: That attendees will be moved to positively change or alter their attitudes and efforts with a particular subject based on something I said or demonstrated.

If you can’t be reasonably certain that many or most attendees will leave your talk and ACTUALLY think or do some things differently with either their lives or their work efforts than it begs the question, why give such a talk?

So, how do I insure such a positive outcome?
I ask questions. Questions not only to the event coordinator, or whoever has employed my services, but to a sample attendee or two to get a real perspective on what they want to get out of the presentation. I probe for opinions on the issues the group faces and the state of their industry challenges.

The motivational speaker’s credibility is an absolute must and not being aware of these factors will keep a speaker perceived as an “outsider”. No one gives much respect and credence to someone who has “not walked in my shoes”. You have to have some inside information and a good working knowledge of the group’s daily and longer term issues.

Once I have formed a working outline of the subject I run it by that person of the client group whose post meeting opinion will mostly determine the evaluation of my talk. That should come from every attendee and often it does via post event group evaluations. However, if the “boss” doesn’t appreciate what you’ve done there may not be another time to prove your ability to move that group to action.

The key element to a good keynote speaker evaluation is content that you have passion for. If I’m not passionate in my beliefs about the subject, I will usually pass on the opportunity to address that group. Although a well planned outline and resultant power point only makes sense, if there is no passion behind what is being said then there is no perceived speaker commitment to it and attendees are spending their time doodling and yawning.

NO ONE sleeps in my seminars!

  • I always have well thought out researched content and a passion for delivering that content.
  • I’m group interactive, no standing behind a podium for me!
  • I “work” the crowd. I make my points by constantly interacting with attendees. The more they feel that they were part of my talks the more effectively they accept my message and make the post meetings efforts that companies are looking for.
  • There can only be one real goal of any seminar presenter and that is to move the attendees to be involved emotionally and intellectually in the meeting and then get off their chairs and do something about it.
  • And when does this action take place? The very minute they get up from their hotel meeting room chair and start to walk out the door. Their thoughts for change should already be evolving into an action plan that begins immediately.
  • No company needs a “filler” speaker, a someone who will fulfill the perceived need to “Just have someone speak” that is different from the constant droning of line management.

I’ve been in the business of managing employees for 4 decades and have lived thru or experienced nearly every possible employee and employer emotional spasm and work value issue. I’ve seen the worst in a few bosses and have had the privilege to work with many of the best.

Although I’m not ashamed of my 8 years of post high school education in HR Management (MBA) and Marketing (BSBA), I will state unequivocally that being a line reporting manager for 40 years has taught me the lion share of what I know to inspire employees and take their talent to new and higher levels.

Give me your group and you’ll see the results, not in yawning and doodling but in the changes in their thought process and the amount of energy they will commit to their new initiatives.

“Give people logic and you get them to think. Give them emotion and you get them to act.”

My audiences do both – think and then act!