Exhibitor Spotlight: Speakers Corner
Having the right speaker who engages your audience can be absolutely key to the success of your event. Speakers need to be more than just an expert in their field; they need to know exactly how to read and respond to an audience, which is a skill that can take years to perfect.
We spoke to Nick Gold, managing director at Speakers Corner, to find out more about what makes the perfect speaker and what visitors to The Meetings Show can expect from this year’s keynotes.
Can you please tell us a little bit about Speakers Corner and the service you provide?
As a leading international speaker bureau, we recommend over 7,500 keynote speakers, motivational speakers, after dinner speakers, awards hosts, conference facilitators and comedians for over 1,000 events a year. Our team of experts pride themselves on providing a premium booking and consultancy service to clients.
Once a speaker has been confirmed, our incredible logistics department takes over to arrange all manner of travel, accommodation and AV requirements, not to mention the all-important briefing call between client and speaker. We always have a member of staff on call 24/7 to handle any emergencies which crop up.
The briefing call is incredibly important, providing the perfect opportunity to go through everything in more detail together and get to know each other, while we remain in the background taking notes and making sure all critical areas are discussed.
How many speakers do you have on your books?
As previously mentioned, we work with over 7,500 artists. However, the important distinction to make is we do not exclusively represent an artist. What this means is we’re not recommending artists based on their relationship with us, but instead on the merits of each artist versus the clients brief.
What qualities do you think make a great event speaker?
The first key point here is to know your audience. That sounds obvious, but due-diligence even on age, culture and language could reveal some key indicators to hone your content, style and tone.
When on stage, start by setting the scene. This will help the audience understand where you’re going even if the message becomes slightly lost due to its nuances.
We do recommend trying to use humour judiciously. The golden rule, of course, to not be offensive, and laughs are always a welcome bonus, but what is more important is the context in which it’s used.
Finally, a good speaker will make the audience the stars and achieve a long-lasting impact on them. Utilising the right tools in line with your delivery is crucial so you can ensure your words include and appeal to everyone listening.
Do you have any top tips for event planners for booking the right speaker?
We get asked this question a lot, and so we have a more in-depth answer on our blog!
However, booking any speaker isn’t something that should be taken lightly. We believe it should be fun and exciting, given the opportunities a speaker can bring to your event, but it’s important to start by identifying your event objectives.
From this, you can determine how you want your audience to benefit from the event, and what message they need to take away.
With a solid understanding of why your event is taking place, you’ll then have a firm foundation to consider what qualities you want your speaker to have, which will then set you on the right path to booking the right speaker for your event.
What about any tips for people who aren’t professional speakers but have to speak at an event?
An often overlooked, but important, aspect of successful public speaking and face-to-face engagement is body language. How people perceive you determines how they react to your address, and ultimately influences their lasting impression of you.
Owning your speech is therefore important. It’s got to sound authentic. Preparation is absolutely key and practice is essential. Try to avoid clinging onto the lectern as it will give the impression of forming a barrier against the audience.
How you use your hands can portray fear and awkwardness. Hands on hips, arms crossed in front and, worst of all, in your pockets, are all commonly accepted signs of nerves and should be avoided at all costs.
Finally, own the stage. By moving around in a confident and disciplined manner, avoiding odd stances and looking around the audience as much as possible, you’ll appear less rabbit in the headlights and more the expert that you truly are.
What can visitors to The Meetings Show expect from the keynote speakers this year?
Well firstly Gerard Lyons will give an economic assessment of Brexit and its impact on the meetings industry. That should be fascinating for those lucky enough to be in the audience.
Former SAS Commander Colin Maclachlan will talk about mental resilience and overcoming challenges like ‘Operation Certain Death’ and other missions, and how his mindset has helped him become successful in various roles. Colin is a popular speaker and it’s a session I wouldn’t want to miss.
Finally, Carl Miller will explain why ‘Everything You Know is Wrong’, including who is really in control and what oppression and liberation in the digital age really looks like. Carl’s research into his The Death of the Gods book is just incredible and the Q&A is just as jaw-dropping as his talk.