At a national convention, I attended recently, I had the opportunity to observe closely two well-known speakers and their behavior over the weekend.
The first speaker:
From the time she arrived to the time she left her behavior was courteous and gracious to everyone. From the hotel desk clerk to the CEO of a large corporation, the event coordinator, and everyone in between… all were treated with courtesy, even when things went wrong. Here are a few things that I knew about and observed:
- Her luggage was late arriving
- Her handout materials were delivered to the wrong event room
- The speaker before her went way over the allocated time, so this speaker’s time was reduced by 10 minutes
- The wireless microphone battery went dead during her speech
- Someone knocked over a tray of water glasses just as she was making a key point
She handled all of these glitches with grace, poise, kindness, and courtesy; which left a lasting positive impression on me. After she spoke and the session ended, people flocked to her vendor table to speak to her and buy her products.
The second speaker:
At the same event there was also a good example of what not to do when invited to be a guest speaker. I also observed another well-known speaker scheduled for an afternoon session. Here are some things I observed:
- He swore at the desk clerk because his room wasn’t ready when he arrived
- He didn’t mingle with any of the other attendees
- He showed up a few minutes before his presentation
- He was curt and rude to the event coordinator before going on stage
- When he got up to speak, he spent a few minutes bashing the venue and the coordinator before getting on with his presentation, which went over his allocated time slot by 15 minutes. (He ignored the event MC’s attempts to have him wrap up his talk)
- After he spoke he was backstage spewing negative comments and a few obscenities about the event
- When the session ended, he was at his vendor table where very few people approached and he made almost no sales
- As he loaded up to leave the event a short time later, he was loudly complaining about his lack of sales
One thing I am sure of is that several other people were also observing these speakers behaviors and actions, and probably talked about the different impressions they each left on us. What impression do you want to make as a guest speaker? Some simple etiquette guidelines for a guest speaker. Some of these tips are also good for event and meeting planners to consider adding into a guest speaker contract too.
Star Maker Guest Speaker Etiquette Tips:
- Be sure to give the event coordinator all your speaker info, headshot, talk information promptly and as far in advance as possible.
- Show up for your speech at least 30 minutes early, allow extra time for traffic delays if needed.
- Let the meeting planner or designated contact know when you arrive at the venue.
- Contact the meeting planner immediately if you have any delays in getting to the venue.
- Test the microphone and all equipment before the event starts and before you start speaking.
- Take the time to know your audience before you speak.
- Be respectful of the people who ask you to speak. Berating or blaming anyone for issues with equipment or other glitches at the event will not reflect well on you, the speaker.
- As a guest speaker your behavior is being observed at all times, by many people and will be talked about, so be a positive influence, polite and respectful to everyone.
- Never overindulge in drinking before, during or after speaking.
- Keep your speech within the allotted time, no more, no less.
- Be flexible with your speech based on how the schedule progresses; be prepared as you may need to cut back or add on as the event timing unfolds.
- Give valuable information and don’t over promote your products from the platform.
- Be a part of the event experience, instead of just delivering your speech and immediately leaving. Network, attend other sessions if it is a multi-session event, visit with people.
If you want to be invited back or booked as a speaker, make sure that on and off the stage you are setting the right tone. It’s too bad that the second speaker left a bad impression off stage. It is not good business or good manners, and those who are experienced in selecting guest speakers are looking for the speaker that brings the most overall value. Be the guest speaker that makes a great all-around impression. Find other suggestions on how to be a speaker HERE
Copyright© 2014 Elizabeth Bachman, San Francisco, California. All Rights Reserved.