I’ve been working as a Program Coordinator, Events for the Chamber for about three months now. I have several events under my belt, including a couple of Distinguished Speakers Series Luncheons. My first large, signature event will be our 2014 Annual Fall Dinner. As a new employee with the Chamber, I came to learn quickly the importance of not only choosing interesting, relevant speakers, but also how to make their experience meaningful.
Our keynote speaker for our Fall Dinner this year is Dave Carroll. Arguably most recognized for his viral hit, “United Breaks Guitars”, Dave has quickly become an influential advocate for positive customer service. He has written a book titled, “United Breaks Guitars: The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media”. I can tell you that Dave will not only entertain us with music, but will teach us as well.
One of the greatest things that I’ve found from working with Dave is that he really understands that his job does not begin with his time on stage. He’s been an active participant in the promotion of the event. He and I have formed a great partnership that works. Dave has gone above-and-beyond by coming to photo shoots, doing radio advertisements, spending hours at a video shoot, and more. Dave is also donating 25% of CD and Book sales from the event back to Phoenix Youth, a charity that our Presenting Sponsor, Stewart McKelvey partnered with this year. Of course it helps that Dave is local, but it sure does help getting to know your speaker personally to foster a relationship of trust (I’ve learned that Dave loves plaid, his son loves SpongeBob and is going for his purple belt!) Because our speaker has been so involved in the details leading up to the event, it ensures that everyone is excited to make the event a success.
Attendees want more from your event. Long gone are the days of low-tech frontal sessions. How is the speaker connected with your audience? Is your speaker truly the leading role of the event, engaging the audience before, during, and after? Perhaps most importantly, does the speaker ask, “What can I do to help make this a huge success?” At the end of the day, they can’t be an accomplished speaker if the event is not also a success.
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