Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Conference Speakers - Secrets of Great Conference Speakers and How Conference Speakers can Make or Break Your Career

Watch video about high impact conferences and events.  How to select a great conference speaker.  How to make your conference one of the most successful and significant that anyone can remember.  Further customised industry keynotes for conferences are below.

Conference Speakers Can Make or Break Your Career

Conference speakers can make or break your corporate event, workshop or seminar. Get the best corporate lecturer around and your reputation as a conference organiser will shine like the sun.

Make a mistake with a keynote presentation in your conference programme and it's the end of your career.  Great conference speakers enable you to sleep at night, knowing you will have trully outstanding, world-class keynote which will set up the entire conference for all that follows.
The trouble is that the best global authorities, writers and accademics can be the worst performers and conference speakers when giving lectures in front of a live audience. Been there, heard that. It's hard to wow a sophisticated conference audience of senior executives or board members in a one hour speech - increasingly so in a multichannel, mobile e-world where attention spans are measured in seconds.

Instant full attention

Here is a highly customised presentation for Globe Forum - 700 green tech entrepreneurs, investors and multinationals. Great conference speakers are able to capture instant full attention of participants, with an intense flow of sharply relevant insights, just right for that audience, that conference, that part of the programme, backed by high-impact images or video on a big screen.

A poor conference speaker is obvious in the first sixty seconds. There is no spark, no passion, no fire. No chemistry with the audience. You can feel the wave of disappointment around the room. Energy levels fall rapidly. The lecture delivery is flat, pace is slow and the content difficult to follow or even irrelevant.

Worst of all is a conference speaker who reads a speech, or is constantly referring to detailed written notes on printed powerpoint slides.  Such a conference speaker is at high risk of failure.  Unable to really focus on eye contact with the audience, so robbed of the most important insight of all - which is the ability to read the inner thoughts and feelings of hundreds of people simultaneously.

Sense the mood - mind reading

All great conference speakers can sense the mood of an audience.  They can see when an audience is engaged, amused, puzzled, worried, confused, bored, stimulated, entertained. They play an audience with the same skill as a world-class stage actor or comedian.  They know when to linger on a point and when to move on. They can read the unconscious signals from the VIPs in the front row, the leadership team, the event host, the event organiser.

World class conference speakers have total mastery of their material, needing few prompts or reminders, able to move around freely without getting lost in their flow of thought.  So they can spend all their intellectual effort in adapting their messages in real time as the presentation unfolds.  World class speakers blend very familiar content (to them) with fresh and new material which has been developed for that audience alone.

Avoid lazy conference speakers

Here is an example of a conference keynote which is totally customised for the audience (international journalists at Ricoh media event).

Sadly, some conference speakers are lazy and arrogant: they rely on the contents of their well-sold book, and use identical sets of slides from one event to the next.  For them, customisation means only changing the cover slide.  They rarely bother to attend dinner the night before or to engage in meaningful conversations with participants before they go on stage.

Lazy conference speakers are anti-social: they spend little time talking with the event organiser, CEO and others before arrival.  They fail to listen to the sessions before, or to adapt their material to respond to what has been said previously.  They fail to understand the story-line or "red thread" running through the event, and their place within it. They often arrive late and leave as soon as they possibly can after walking off the platform.  Such conference speakers insult their audiences and neglect their responsibilities to event organisers.

Of course, all in-demand conference speakers have numbers of days each year when their schedules are so tight, that the only way they can sqeeze in your event is by spending less time at your conference than they would usually like.  But the real issue is their attitude:  does this conference speaker really get what you are wanting to achieve?  Are they really interested serving you, or are you serving them?

Committed to your success

The best conference speakers see their role as servants not prima-donnas.  They may be very well-known celebrities on the conference speaker circuit, but they are always willing to do what they can to ensure the whole event is an outstanding success.  They are helpful, courteous, friendly, considerate of support teams and technicians, and take good care of the most important people to the client.

Event organisers should demand:
* World class keynote presentation content
* Conference lectures that make people think in radical ways
* Immediate practical take-home messages from every presentation
* Total focus on the interests of the audience in every conference speech
* Lecturer fits keynote material into whole theme of conference
* Interesting, entertaining, dynamic
* Kind of corporate keynote presentation where conference audiences want more
* Outstanding visuals - innovative use of images / video and other elements, adapted to stretch the full capability of all the technology / screens available

Future Trends, Growth Strategy

"Take hold of your future - or the future will take hold of you"

One of the greatest risks to any business is institutional blindness - too much time with people who have a similar world view.  See video above for Nokia.

Patrick Dixon is one of the world's leading conference speakers and has advised many of the world's largest corporations on a wide range of strategic issues and trends. A well-recognised authority on growth strategy, trends and change management, he is often described as Europe's leading Futurist. As a corporate lecturer at large global events, Dr Dixon aims to help conference participants touch and feel the future with multimedia presentations on every aspect of what tomorrow's management challenges may be like.

Every great leader spends time considering the future: vision and strategy must be based on deep understanding of what the world is today and what it could become tomorrow.  All successful business leaders are experts on consumer and competitor trends and have an intuitive feel for where those trends may change most significantly.

Every conference speaker should bring change to an organisation. It's not enough for a futurist to make informed guesses or detached, philosophical comments on public platforms, or as part of workshops, seminars, think tanks or client events. A successful futurist has to be able to see, feel and taste the future and communicate different scenarios in ways that are relevant, realistic, down to earth and life-changing.

No conference keynote speaker on the future can predict specific events such as the exact moment to buy or sell a stock, but (despite many uncertainties) underlying mega-trends are vital for every corporation. The key for a successful corporate lecturer is not only being able to interpret the outworking of those trends and to be as accurate as possible about timescale, but also to be an interesting, entertaining and mind-stretching speaker.

Designing a great corporate event is an art, and great executive conferences are rare. The secret of success is a great opening visionary lecture that sets the scene, and creates the whole atmosphere, energy and drive for the conference. A great speaker brings an electricity into the conference auditorium almost before they begin to speak, instantly grabbing attention and carrying conference participants along on the crest of a wave to a wonderful climax.

Great presentations are hard work, physically, mentally and emotionally - for the speaker of course - but should also be stimulating, enervating, exciting and engaging for senior executives.

YouTube videos of conference keynote presentations on various issues:

Economics, Finance & Financial Services
Banking - many of Patrick's clients are global banks, investment funds
Economics issues - Patrick creates a big picture of global trends
Insurance - Patrick has worked with many of the world's largest insurers

Technology - Patrick works with many of the world's largest computer, software, telecom, internet and biotech companies
Online communities - Web 2.0 - how online communities will drive your business
Mobile phones - future of telecom, wireless devices, virtual communities, positional advertising
Convergence and divergence - why all competitive advantage comes from divergence
RFID technology - impact on retail, wholesale, distribution and manufacturing

Health and Education
Health care - key trends in health, ageing, biotech, hospitals, clinics
Pharmaceutical industry - impact of the biotech revolution
Education - future of teaching in high schools, colleges and business school
Leadership, Management & Strategy
Change management - a recurring theme
Risk management - preparing for the unexpected
Innovation - smart innovation, open innovation and crowdsourcing
Leadership - effective ways to drive organisations forward
Logistics and supply chain - critical issues in manufacturing and wholesale
Motivation - how to inspire people to make great things happen
Women at work - challenges for corporations in winning war for talent
Outsourcing - what is going to happen next

Advertising - why traditional approaches are dead in an online world
Customers - how customer demands are changing and why
Customer focus - why many corporations need a reality check, to succeed in future
Marketing - future of marketing and brand development

Travel, Tourism, Energy, Resources and Environment
Travel - future of aviation, road, rail, shipping - for business and leisure
Biofuels - food for fuel? Next generation biofuels.
Commodities - impact of emerging markets
Energy industry - future energy from oil, gas, coal, nuclear, renewables
Petrochemical industry - how the industry will change and why
Climate change - why the future is about emotion, not just the science
Sustainability - what does it mean for your business?

Other Topics and Types of Audience
Real estate - key trends in commercial and residential real estate industries
Retailing - developing the customer experience
Looking for other topics?  Search on Patrick Dixon's YouTube Futurist channel.

Dr Patrick Dixon chairing conferences and running panel interviews

Google Zeitgeist CEO Summit - 5 minute intro of session on future of entertainment, media, advertising, online communities such as YouTube and perhaps the ultimate consumer experience - space travel with Virgin Galactic
Google Zeitgeist CEO Summit - Chairing session on future of broadcasting and the BBC - guest Mark Thompson, Director General BBC
Google Zeitgeist CEO Summit - Space Tourism and Virgin Galactic - Chairing session with remarkeable video of early flight, discussion and then closing with whole panel of 5 on range of issues relating to entertainment and virtual life

Clients Listed by Industry

Technology, Engineering, Software and Computer Manufacturers

Google, Microsoft, Toshiba, HP, IBM, Phillips, SAP, Siemens, Symantec, Infosys, Ricoh, Actinic, ARBS, Asco, Capco, Compaq, Comverse, European Internet Foundation, Fujitsu Siemens, Georgia Technology Forum, ITS, Kyocera, Leadbay, NCR, SolidWorks, Toshiba, Unaxis, Unisys, Zellweger Luwa

Media, Telecommunications

Nokia, AT&T, Vodafone, O2, Belgacom, BT, AIC Carriers World, Mobilcom, MTN, Amdocs, Carlton TV, Etisalat Telecom (UAE), Idea Cellular, i-Comverse, Loral (satellites), Telenor, Times of India, Qualcomm, SABC (S Africa), TDC


HSBC, UBS, Credit Suisse, RBS, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Lloyds TSB, Skandia Bank, ABSA bank, Bank of Ireland, Britania Building Society, Clariden Bank, ABN AMRO, CUES, Fortis, Friends First Bank, Macquarie Bank, Minsheng Bank, Morgan Stanley Investment Bank, North Island Credit Union, PrivatBank (Ukraine), RMB, Saga, SEB, Skandia, Sumitomo Bank, Bank Vontobel,

Insurance and other Financial Services

Allianz, Aviva, Prudential, Munich Re, Swiss Re, Zurich Financial Services, Swiss Stock Exchange, 3i, AA (UK), AIG, Roularta, ICBI - fund managers, Asset Management Advisors, Income (Singapore), Birla financial services group, International Mutual Funds Institute, Kazakstan Investment Forum, Lombard, Morley Fund, Saga, Acromas, Winterthur Insurance, Family Office, Kiln Group

Transport - Airlines, Travel, Shipping, Hotels, Tourism and Automotive Industry

Air France, KLM, Airbus, Swiss Airline, Virgin Atlantic, Dassault Falcon, Association of Corporate Travel Executives, Automobile Recycling Netherlands (ARN), Dubai Ports Authority, EADS, Ford, Hotel Ecoliere de Lausanne, Portuguese Tourist Board, Reg Vardy - auto sales, Saga, Stagecoach, Tourism in Ireland, North West Tourism, World Economic Forum Governors of Aviation Travel and Tourism meeting (Davos)

Logistics, Distribution, Supply Chain Management, Packaging Industry

Fedex, DHL, ISS, Danish Post Office, Deutsche Poste, Swedish Poste, UK Post Office, IBS, Rexam, Tetrapak

Energy, Chemical Industry, Mining, Metals, other Commodities

BP, ExxonMobil, General Electric, BASF, Copesul (Brazil), European Petrochemical Association (EPCA), Hindalco, Houston Energy Forum, Royal Dutch Chemical Association, SHV Gas, Sulzer, Vattenfall, Veitch

Food and Drink

Carlsburg, Unilever, Kraft Jacobs Suchard, Sara Lee, Diageo, Danone, Femsa, Bord Bia - Irish Food Board, European Coffee Federation, Food Business Forum, Nutreco, RPC, Schwan's Frozen Foods, Tetrapak

Health Care, Pharmaceutical Industry, Medical Technology and Cosmetics / Lifestyle

GSK, Roche, Novartis, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Gillette, Johnson and Johnson, 3M - dentistry, Avon, Siemens Medical, Phillips Diagnostics, BUPA, Coloplast, Genentech, Henry Schein, ICPM - International Conference of Pharmaceutical Medicine, NHS, Smith and Nephew, St Joseph's Hospital Foundation Ontario, Voluntary Hospitals Association, Institute of Clinical Research

Government and UN

World Bank,  UNIDO, UNAIDS, EU, US Federal Government (Pentagon), Abu Dhabi Police Authority, UK Department of Trade and Industry, Irish government, South Korea Ministry of Knowledge and Economy, Jebel Ali Free Zone (UAE), Kazakhstan government, Lithuanian government, Portuguese government, State of Connecticut, Welsh Assembly, UK Parliament, London Connect

Marketing, Advertising and Design

McCann Erikson, Belgium Marketing Federation, Danish Design Centre, Marketing Forum Turkey, Finland Marketing Federation, Malta Marketing Association, Pinnacle Communications, Portugese Marketing Association, Marketing Communication Consultants Association (MCCA), plus many presentations on marketing / brand to clients in other lists

Professional Firms - Law / Legal / Accounting

Accenture, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Charles Russell, Eversheds, Freshfields, Linklaters, Regulatory Affairs Professional Organisation

Management, Consulting, Training, Service Organisations

Forbes, Fortune, American Management Association, American Society for Training and Development, ISS, CIONet, Concours Group, CSC Consulting, European Federation of Management Development, European Federation of Facilities Management, European School of Management and Technology, European Institute for Research Management, Globe Forum, Global Future Forum, HMS, IBEC (Ireland), ICBI, Indian School of Business, Informa, Institute of Management, Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, ISS, KPMG, Latitude, Leading Edge Strategy Group, Leadership Trust, Linkage, Management Centre Europe, Management Centre Turkey, MPI - Meetings Professionals International, POM+, P Richmond Events, Ruling Companies, Said Business School Oxford, ServiceMaster, Schweizerische Gesellschaft fur Organisation, Stan Am Rheim Leadership Summit, Strategos, University of Salford Management School, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Belgium, Wheaton College, ZFU

Real Estate / Construction / Engineering

Balfour Beatty, Corenet Global, Johnson Controls, Knight Frank, Siemens Group, Urban Land Institute (ULI), Anglian Circle Housing Association

Retail, Textiles, Engineering, and some other Manufacturing - note:  many manufacturers classified under industries above

Oxxo, Femsa, Aditya Birla, American Apparel Manufacturers Association, C&A group, Rieter, Saks Group Inc

Non-Profit Organisations

American Association of Retired People (AARP), AIDS Care Education and Training (ACET), UK Church Commissioners, Premier Radio, Tear Fund, Transformational Business Network (TBN), Trinity Forum, Sustainability Forum, Young Presidents Organisation (YPO)