Thursday, June 22, 2017

Speaking of Speakers: Tips to Manage Keynote Speakers - Smart Meetings Magazine

Our very own Amy Crocker was featured in an article in Smart Meetings Magazine - check it out!

Speaking of Speakers: Tips to Manage Keynote Speakers


Managers of professional keynoters offer tips on working with clients

A few recent trends are converging in a way that’s making it tougher to find, book and prepare keynote and general-session speakers for an effective performance at a meeting.

According to Amy Crocker, a partner at speaker-management firm Standard Ovation in Overland Park, Kansas, many planners are contacting her just four to six weeks ahead of a meeting to secure a presenter who will have a featured slot in the program.

Yvon Douran, owner of Keynote Resource in Santa Barbara, California, finds that many planners are using YouTube as a primary tool for vetting potential speakers for their events, but glossing over other relevant factors such as the speaker’s specific business background.

Then there is the rising demand for shorter speeches with more audience interaction built in at the end of the presentation—or even in the middle of it, which is tough for many professional keynoters who have a tight, well-honed presentation.

“The TED Talks that we all see online are driving preferences,” Crocker says. “In the past few years I’ve seen requests go from 60 to 90 minutes down to just 30 to 45 minutes. Smart speakers realize they have to adapt somewhat, but a lot of them have developed a brand through their content and style and don’t want to come off of that too much.”

Condensing the Message
Douran says many speakers simply can’t get their full message across in less than 45 minutes because they have so much expertise in their topic.

“An inspirational speaker could probably come down from 60 to 45 minutes, especially if they have a PowerPoint or video package they could trim,” she says.

A business-focused speaker who customizes parts of the speech for a particular audience could focus on just the three or four most important points that come from the preprogram questionnaire Douran sends to the planner.

For speakers who customize, though, that questionnaire should not be the only education they receive about the group. A phone call with the planner and key meeting stakeholders is of significant benefit as well—but with lead times being so short for many meetings, the planner must be proactive in making that happen.

“The speaker wants to hear who the audience is in terms of demographic and job function, the goals and objectives of the entire meeting, and the specific challenges and pain points that should be addressed,” Crocker says. “We also want to know the topics or even the phrases that should not come up in the presentation.”

On the other hand, Douran finds that planners who come to her with flexibility in their preferences can get the type of content they want even with short lead times.

“Every group wants to feel like the speaker knows their specific business, but planners often come to us asking for one type of speaker and then go for someone else we suggest, based on other events our speaker did that had similar objectives,” she says.

In a common scenario, groups that say they want a pure business speaker end up booking a more entertaining personality with a message that’s relevant to some aspect of the group’s business.

“A lot of speakers are not customizing their content much, but many times they don’t have to in order to hit the mark for the client,” Douran adds.

But to make this work, planners must understand the full business background of the speaker.

“Because of the way speakers can promote themselves on the internet, I’d take a closer look at the profile—if they use a lot of buzzwords but don’t talk much about specific business concepts or processes, I’d be wary about using them for something other than a motivational objective,” Douran says.

Logistical Considerations
To work around many planners’ shorter lead times, Crocker often asks for a flat fee for her speakers’ travel expenses and makes the travel plans herself.

“Our speakers aren’t booking their flights the same week they sign the contract to do an event,” she notes. “Speakers usually can’t lock into flights six weeks out because they don’t know which city they will be coming from. So we offer cost certainty to the client through a flat fee (usually about $1,500), and if we have to book flights one week out, then that higher cost is on the speaker.”

As for coordination with audiovisual technicians, Douran sends each speaker’s technical-requirement sheet to the client right after signing the contract. Sometimes, though, a speaker wants to be directly in touch with the audiovisual person who is working the session to make sure certain technical things will be taken care of, she says.

Most planners want the speaker’s presentation slides and other materials in their possession at least a week ahead of the event, but this is more difficult for speakers who customize their presentation significantly.

“Some of our people actually get onsite the day before to speak to a few attendees and add things to their presentation—not big changes but adding some relevant specifics,” Crocker says. “When an audience sees that the speaker made that kind of effort, they perk up and are more inclined to really listen.”

In such cases, an almost-final version can be sent to the planner a week out, and be used as a backup onsite in case the speaker’s latest version does not work properly in presession testing.

“Both parties should get everything out in the open as far out as possible,” Crocker says. “The speaker will be flexible to a point, but they have spent time building their brand and expertise, so you can’t expect too much change from what you have seen them do for other groups. Tell us what you need from the session, but then let the speaker take that information and do what they do best.”

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Sam Richter Inducted Into the Minnesota Speakers Hall of Fame


June 15, 2017 -- Minnetonka, MN-based and St. Louis Park native, Sam Richter, C.S.P. (, was last night inducted by the National Speakers Association into the Minnesota Speaker Hall of Fame. Sam is only the 28th person ever inducted into the Hall of Fame and joins some of the world's most distinguished professional speakers and Minnesota icons (find the list at

Sam is considered one of the world's leading experts on sales intelligence and digital reputation management, and through his in-person motivational keynote presentations and online university, annually helps hundreds of leading companies and tens-of-thousands of persons around the globe grow their businesses by creating strong and relevant relationships.

In addition to speaking, Sam is a best-selling author and his book won Sales book of the Year. He has developed a number of technologies including the world’s top news search engine, YouGotTheNews, and the Blog search engine, YouGotBlogs. He is a partner at Contata Solutions, a big-data/machine learning firm that produces sales, marketing, and business intelligence software. Sam was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Sales Leaders and he is a past Finalist for Inc. Magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year.

Sam is a graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Journalism, where he also played varsity football and was a two-time Scholastic All-American. He serves on the Board of Directors for Minneapolis-based Brandpoint and Argos Risk, he is a long-time judge of the Minnesota Cup business plan competition, and he volunteers his time as a mentor to many Twin Cities business leaders and University of Minnesota student athletes.    

You can learn more about Sam at or via Wikipedia at

Contact Standard Ovation!
Charlotte Raybourn, Standard Ovation, LLC
(913) 498-9774

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Standard Ovation Receives 2017 Best of Overland Park Award

Press Release


Standard Ovation Receives 2017 Best of Overland Park Award

Overland Park Award Program Honors the Achievement

OVERLAND PARK June 1, 2017 -- Standard Ovation has been selected for the 2017 Best of Overland Park Award in the Event Planning category by the Overland Park Award Program.

Each year, the Overland Park Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Overland Park area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2017 Overland Park Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Overland Park Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Overland Park Award Program

The Overland Park Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Overland Park area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Overland Park Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Overland Park Award Program

Overland Park Award Program