Motivational speakers, event hosts, and emcees take to the stage year after year as trade show speakers, private event hosts, and leading corporate workshops. Delivering what's new, and what's next and creating an inspirational learning environment is key. Whether it's a hobby, a new business model, or the latest household product to hit the market, there seems to be no shortage of work for a motivational speaker, event host or educator. But what makes a great speaker or presenter?
Billy Lowe has worked for over 20 years in sales/marketing for global health, beauty & lifestyle brands. He later landed on the red carpet as a Hollywood hair stylist, appearing on countless talk shows, reality shows, news segments and other media sources. These career milestones invited Lowe to speak at countless events nationwide on topics like product education, brand and team building, media training, and anti-bullying to name a few. Lowe is no stranger to audience engagement nor consumer response. He shares top 5 qualities to consider when booking a motivational speaker, keynote speaker, or host.
1. Relatable. "Audiences love a connection." says Lowe. "They enter a room, take their seats and want to know what is this event about, who is the speaker, and what does it mean to me? Take your audience into consideration. A pre-program questionnaire is very helpful in knowing your audience beforehand and helps shape the workshop or seminar structure."
To many audiences, there's a relationship that comes from knowing the speaker, having seen him or her on television or perhaps reading their book. "Tell me a story and you've got my attention." Lowe states. "People gravitate to what's comfortable and familiar. In many of my workshops or educational events, I begin with a children's storybook . It's a very basic way to gather audience attention, and it opens the door for that childlike wonder and curiosity that help stimulate learning and interest."
2. Believable. Does the event speaker know his or her content, is it delivered in an authentic/trusting way, and is the speaker the best representative for the message? "Many people think the speaker carries the room; I often think the audience does. A speaker has to navigate through audience filters and bring everything together in a meaningful way. To me the talent in the room is the audience and I need to capture their trust first thing. I need them to believe in me before anything else! Belief and trust can come from a personal story, a statistic, or even a helpful tip. People love numbers and they love to know how things rank and this is a great way to capture trust (simply by knowing something relevant or supportive to the event)." Another idea that Lowe supports is looking the role. He says "If you're a Doctor wear a lab coat for your presentation. If you're a real estate agent, look and dress like one. This supports your believability."
3. Add variety. Providing a variety of learning modules in your presentation will help keep your audiences engaged. We've all been in that hour-long seminar and seen the person in front nodding off almost as soon as the seminar begins. Lowe suggests providing a variety of learning strategies that ignite and use as many of our senses as possible. "I remember in my own coursework in educational leadership, one of our goals for a 60 minute segment was to change the delivery/learning method every 5-7 minutes while maintaining workshop flow. This ranged from "pop up exercises" to live Q&A, a quick team building exercise or perhaps written reflection. Add variety to your engagements."
4. Entertain. "Don't be afraid to make a fool of yourself!" declares Lowe. "Use props and go for it. Bring music, magic wands, bouncing balls, or even birthday horns. Break the ice for your audience by doing something silly first so they know it's a safe place if they "mess up." If someone shares a helpful thought or concept encourage audience support by using fun out-of-the-box props." It's no secret that many people fear standing in front of a room or speaking in public but to Lowe, "If a speaker establishes that safe place first, audiences feel more comfortable in the room, in their seats, and in their contribution.
5. "That's a Wrap!" People often refer to an event take-away as "WIIFM" (What's In It For Me?). What is the take away and how will audiences remember it? "This is the shining (and final) moment to get their buy-in and commitment." concludes Lowe. "So what are they leaving with, and can they apply the knowledge in another environment. Many people attend seminars or workshops and contribute in a helpful way when they are there, but when they are in other environments, the references change and they aren't sure what do, do. It's important that a speaker or educator provides several examples of how an idea can be used or played out in other settings." rnrnLowe says he finishes a workshop or seminar with a story or experience that reflects the topics discussed and challenges audience thinking upon leaving. "I want to encourage people to use their minds. I can share an ending thought or story and tell the room how the story relates, or I can end in a way that inspires audiences to think for themselves. A great speaker will help their audiences do just that!"
Billy Lowe is an on-air host and media personality for some of today's top news segments and daytime talk shows. He is a well known hair stylist for Hollywood production and special events and is the founder of his own hair care line Gloss & Toss. Lowe is available for your speaking events, educational workshops, and hosting opportunities. He is also available for media training, product launch, and other educational opportunities. He can be found online by visiting www.billylowe.com and he lives in Los Angeles, CA.