Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 17
F E AT U R E
BY TODD HUNT
THE HUNT COMPANY
for Savvy Planners
lanning a tight meeting is
one of the hardest things
to do. Everyone wants
"just a few minutes" on
the agenda. By the time
the president delivers
her welcome address, sponsors are
recognized, housekeeping announcements
made, service awards given and everyone
sings Happy Birthday to the founding
member ... sometimes there's no time left
for the paid keynote speaker!
So here's a suggestion for savvy
Separate your main speaker from other
business if possible. One client had me
speak from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m., right before
dinner. Perfect! Everyone came from the
hors d'oeuvre reception (so they weren't
starving) and were attentive. Dinner was
served promptly at 6:15. As dessert came
out, the president stood up, distributed
awards and conducted other business.
I wasn't competing for their time nor
they for mine.
Another client had me deliver the opening
keynote from 9 to 10 a.m. Nothing else - not
even a presidential welcome. The second
morning was devoted to association
business (president's report, officer
election, legislative update and so on).
Additional tips for a smooth meeting:
FOR PLANNERS ...
1. Skip the gift. It's one fewer hassle for
you, and speakers don't need another
clock or pen set. If you do give a
thank you, how about a gift card? It's
easy to carry home on the airplane.
2. Tell the speaker upfront if your group
has any sensitivities (competitors
referenced by name, for example).
3. Keep announcements and other
business separate from your paid
speaker's slot, if possible. Audiences
want to hear the big event, and
you want to get the full value from
4. Most speakers keep it clean, but
it never hurts to request a G-rated
program ... especially if last year's
speaker was off-color, and you heard
about it from members all year long.
5. If the meeting is running behind
schedule and you want the presenter to
shorten his talk, tell him what time you
need him to end. Professionals create
their speeches in modules, so they can
accommodate such requests (be sure
to ask before they start speaking).
FOR SPEAKERS ...
1. If your presentation has nothing
to do with the announced topic, at
least be interesting.
2. Stop talking before the audience
3. If you insist on speaking past your
allotted time, you should at least
be more entertaining than the next
4. Your humor should be clean and funny.
Just one won't cut it.
5. If you're going to read PowerPoint
slides, just mail printouts
instead - saving clients your travel
costs and speaking fee.
Todd Hunt is a business humorist who
speaks to organizations that want to add
fun to their events and send members
back to work smiling, with tips to improve
communication and success. Hunt can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.