Speaking

“Eric you send a great message and do great things.  Obviously, you have made an impression on my young leaders, and I am positive that you have touched the lives of everyone you spoke to last week.
This is what life is all about.  I salute you and what you are doing to make a difference in peoples’ lives.”
Douglas Noyes
U.S. Naval Academy
12th Co. Senior Enlisted Leader

“Eric, thanks again for coming to the National Executive Directors conference and speaking to us.  We have gotten so many comments saying your talk and presentation was the best part of the conference!
You were so inspirational, kinda made us think we can come back and climb mountains to get these homes built!”
Kelle R. Shultz
Executive Director
Knoxville Habitat for Humanity

Thank you for taking the time to take a look at my site as you consider me as a speaker for your event.
I understand that often events become very personal, and I understand as well the challenge of finding just the right speaker.

Over the past ten years, I have been a part of hundreds of events, from small corporate training sessions to large multi-day conferences where I have delivered keynote messages to large audiences.
I know that the success of an event comes down to the quality of the speakers. If they hit a home run, you will too and have a great event.
Most likely you will be spending hours researching speakers, to make sure you have just the right fit.
My hope is that this page will make it easy for you to get the information you need to make the best decision possible.
Thanks for looking at my site. Thanks also for considering me – I am honored.

 

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT:

Here’s what you can expect from me and my team -

  1. Professional and prompt replies to your phone calls and email messages.
  2. A personal phone consultation with me prior to your event, so I can better understand how I can best serve you and your audience.
  3. An announcement about your event (or your company)on my blog and social media channels. (This assumes that your event is open to the public and you want additional visibility for it.)
  4. Delivery of an inspiration and meaningful message that will leave a lasting impact as it ties in with your theme.
  5. A custom resource page, exclusively created for your attendees. It will include the slides I used in the presentation, along with links to books, articles, and other resources I believe will be helpful.
  6. A quick follow-up communication after the event, to make sure I met your expectations. (I also want to know how you think I can improve.)

A Short Demo Video:

Possible Venues:
You name it and more than likely, Eric has worked there. National youth conventions, colleges, school assemblies, churches, and Corporate retreats and conferences are some of the venues I have on my list. The best setup you can provide is proper sound, projection, lighting…and an audience! Whether you are thinking about an event for inspiration, motivation, outreach or spiritual growth, Eric is very comfortable and experienced with each.

Eric on a panel with Tommy Lasorda




Audience Size:

This is not a major factor as I have addressed as many as three thousand people, to even just a few in small settings

Honorarium:
Fees vary according to the number of dates booked at one time. A one time performance would be priced differently than a three day or week long multi-venue engagement. Please feel free to call or e-mail about the way in which I could best be utilized in your area.

Accommodations:
If the event requires an overnight or an extended stay, hotel accommodations are gratefully requested.

Flight Information:

Event hosts are asked to purchase a round trip economy (upgrades are welcome) flight from Eagle, CO or Denver, CO (Eagle County Regional or Denver Intl Airports). Higher Summits will first secure flights then promptly send travel and reimbursement details.

I am represented by various speaker’s bureaus that all have me listed at the same market rate.  If you have worked with one in the past and like the services they provide, please have them get in touch with me and we will work together to ensure you get the best event possible.
To request more information on booking me please go to the Higher Summits Contact page.

Resources and Tips on a successful event and event planning: 

Having been through the event process hundreds of times I feel almost as though I could be an event planner myself.  I will do whatever I can to ensure the events success and be happy to communicate with you during the decision making process.  Here are some tips and suggestions to make the road a little smoother and the event a winner.

Top Tips for Working with Speakers

I understand that your speaker selection is one of the most important elements in a successful meeting. Selecting the right speaker for your meeting can be a daunting task, as speakers are available in every fee range and specialty topic.

- Determine your needs

Thorough knowledge of the needs of your group is essential in selecting the right speaker.  Do you need someone to motivate the group to sell? Are you looking for after-dinner entertainment with a message? Inspiration?  Does your meeting require that the audience leave with specific or technical information?

- Establish your date, time and budget

  • Start looking for a speaker as soon as the date for your meeting is set. Many speakers book engagements up to a year in advance and you will want to get on their calendar as soon as possible.
  • Consider how much time you have to fill and where that time falls in your overall program. If your time slot is flexible, a professional speaker can often tell you the right amount of time for the job. A professional can also make recommendations about the order of topics/speakers if one presentation will follow another. (You may not want to follow a humorist with a detailed educational presentation.)
  • Factor in the fee you are willing or able to pay for a speaker. Your search for a speaker can be narrowed or broadened based upon your budget.

- Identify the needs of your audience

A speaker’s expertise in a given field may be the big draw, but a well-known name does not guarantee a professional presentation. High prices don’t always mean high quality. Will your audience and the overall program benefit most from a celebrity; an expert in the field; a popular sports personality; a best-selling author; or a professional speaker who has a thorough knowledge of the appropriate topic?
  • Speakers bureaus locate and book speakers according to your specifications and needs. A bureau can locate speakers and quote fees. Many bureaus specialize in particular speakers such as celebrities, authors or athletes. Speakers bureaus can often be found in your local phone directory under “Speakers Bureau” or “Agent.” You can also use the internet to find bureaus. Try the International Association of Speakers Bureaus (IASB) or Marketplace NSA.

- Interview your speaker

  • A professional speaker will be a real partner in this process. Often they will ask questions about the needs of your audience and what they can accomplish for you. Ask for references and, if they are speaking in your area, ask if you can attend the program and observe them in action.
  • Assure that a potential speaker has addressed groups similar to yours. Talk with them about their experience. Ask for a biography, testimonials and videos of their presentations, preferably before a live audience.
  • Find a speaker who will tailor his or her presentation to your group.

- What to expect of your speaker

  • Hire a professional and you’ll hire an ally. Professional speakers understand that your reputation is riding on their performance. Their experience with hundreds of audiences can add to your peace of mind and to the success of the event.
  • When contracting with a speaker, consider that you are not only paying for the time the speaker is on the platform but also for the hours spent researching, preparing and customizing the presentation. Some speakers may negotiate their fees when they are doing more than one program for you or when they are allowed to sell their products. Ask about your options.

- Get it in writing

You should have a letter of agreement or contract that clearly outlines the expectations of both you and your speaker. Consider:
  • travel arrangements and transportation;
  • accommodations and meals;
  • fees, reimbursements and payment terms;
  • whether you want the speaker to attend social events;
  • if the speaker may sell products and if so, how this will be handled;
  • an agreement on any audio- or videotaping of the presentation;
  • cancellation policies;
  • audio/visual requirements;
  • and legal implications, if any, your contract may contain.

- Work with your Speaker

Share information about your group or company. This will help the speaker become familiar with your organization, while facilitating a customized presentation.
  • Send your newsletter or anything which would include key people, buzz words or insider news and views.
  • Give the speaker a clear outline of what you expect.
  • Be specific about the size and demographics of your audience.
  • Let the speaker know in advance about other speakers on the program. This gives the speaker the opportunity to build on (and not duplicate) what the other speakers say.

- Set the stage

  • Make sure the room is set up for optimum impact. Consider the number of chairs and how they are arranged. Also consider room temperature and lighting.
  • Stay on schedule. Although a professional will be able to “make up” time or slow things down if needed, keeping your program on schedule will allow your audience to get the full impact of the program you have created for them.
  • Your speaker should be able to provide you with a good introduction of themselves and their topic. The introduction should be short, energizing and create positive expectations.

- Evaluate the results

  • Have your audience complete evaluations on the speaker and his/her presentation. This will allow you to gauge your results and plan for future programs. Send copies of the evaluations to your speaker.

** Courtesy of National Speakers Association

 

A humorous look at event planning gone bad:

17 Things NOT to Do At An Event

 As a motivational and humorous speaker I have addressed over 3,000 audiences. The vast majority of meeting planners do an excellent job preparing for presentations. Unfortunately, a few seem determined to create environments totally unsuited for a speech; if they hosted an Olympic event, sprinters would run on an ice skating rink. As a service for these deranged meeting planners, I offer a few ideas to assist in the sabotage of my competitor’s speeches.
  1. After-dinner speakers should be introduced while dessert is being served. Most speakers begin with a few jokes, and people don’t laugh with a mouth full of chocolate mousse. Causing the speaker’s first jokes to fail sets the mood.
  2. When the desserts are finished, tell the waiters to clear the tables – and to take their time. The banter of waiters, the clanking of dishes and silverware guarantee distraction. The fact is, audiences think a minimum-wage worker carrying a tray piled with plates is more fascinating to watch than a $10,000 an hour speaker. And sometimes they’re right.
  3. Always leave the kitchen doors open. This allows audiences to be entertained by the boisterous conversations of kitchen staff. Hallway doors should also be open so the audience can monitor cell phone conversations of people in the lobby. Which reminds me, never tell audiences to turn off their cell phones. A sadistic meeting planner’s favorite weapon is a cell phone’s ring tone of “The Lone Ranger.” During the speech, over the meeting room speakers, crank up the hotel’s elevator music (musak).
  4. Do not suggest that the audience take a restroom break before the speaker’s presentation. Attendees will squirm in their seats and those over 50 will avoid laughing because it could make them pee. If you decide to offer a restroom break, make it very short and introduce the speaker before people return. Straggling in at different intervals creates a continuous disruption.
  5. By all means, serve lots of liquor. Ideally, have a 90-minute cocktail hour with free-flowing wine throughout dinner. This guarantees a mentally dull audience. And leave the bar open while the speaker is talking. The only thing more interesting to an audience than a bumbling busboy is a drunk stumbling to the bar for another shot.
  6. Make sure the thermostat is above 80°. What goes better with liquor than a hot, stuffy room? This combination transforms an energetic group into droopy-eyed zombies. To assure low attendance at breakfast meetings, leave the bar open until 2:00 AM. The cost of the extra booze will be covered by having to provide so few breakfast meals the next morning. For the bleary eyed people who show up to hear the morning speech, provide generous servings of Bloody Mary’s, especially for the speaker.
  7. Seat VIP’s at a head table far behind the speaker so their hearing is impaired and they can only see the speaker’s back. With diminished sight and hearing, their reaction to the speakers’ comments will be minimal. Since the audience can see the VIP’s muted responses, it says the speaker is a dullard.
  8. When watching a sports event, play or movie, the best seats are in the center. The same is true for a speech. Destroy these seats by putting a bar or buffet table in this location. If you are not having a meal, you can achieve the same effect by dividing the audience with an isle down the middle that’s wide enough for Jumbo the Elephant.
  9. If spouses are attending the conference, announce that anyone with young children is welcome to attend, especially those with infants. Encourage them to sit in the middle of the audience so that everyone can equally enjoy the squalling child.
  10. Here’s an important tip: if the speaker is animated and relies on facial expressions, keep the ceiling lights pointed everywhere but at the speaker. It’s best not to use a spotlight. If you do, use one bright enough to completely blind the speaker. The light beam should give the speaker the sensation of being run over by a Harley at night. Also effective is a photographer who jumps up just before the speaker delivers a punch line or concludes an inspirational story. The camera’s flash and the photographer’s movement ruin the moment. Additional flashes leave the speaker with just enough sight to stumble off the stage, resulting in a humorous back injury.
  11. Another technique is to display giant potted plants around the podium. This keeps the speaker properly camouflaged. If it’s an option, choose a room with numerous large Roman-style columns and arrange the tables so that the speaker is out of people’s line of vision. To further block the view, always use monstrous table arrangements utilizing such classy items as helium balloons and plastic pink flamingos.
  12. Book a hotel where there will be loud and energetic groups meeting in the room next to yours. Particularly effective are Shriners, college fraternity parties, punk rock weddings complete with slam dancing. Next, make sure the meeting rooms are separated by a worthless, accordion shaped, “soundproof” movable wall. This enables your audience to listen to several speakers at once – like a “Three-Ring-Speaker’s Circus.”
  13. A simple law rules the psychology of group dynamics – “People respond more in a packed house.” So if you’re planning to seat 200 people theater-style, book a room with at least 500 seats. This guarantees that the front rows will be empty and everyone will spread out to the rear. A no-man’s land between speaker and audience destroys any sense of intimacy.
  14. Let’s talk sound system. It’s amazing how some hotels spend millions of dollars on a meeting room with beautiful murals, chandeliers, carpets, and curtains, and then shell out twenty-five bucks for a microphone. Book a hotel with this philosophy. While you’re at it, don’t bother checking out the sound system or having a second mic on hand. And make sure the PA system creates ear-shattering feedback when the speaker tries to be intimate and moves closer to the audience. In all likelihood, the speech will be over by the time someone arrives to correct the problem. Most importantly, never check to see if the microphone’s battery is fresh. Low batteries cause the mic to cut in and out making every fifth word inaudible. To avoid blame, just say you were trying to watch expenses and a new battery cost 50¢.
  15. Never limit the time of those addressing the group before your professional speaker. Tell them that they don’t need to work on their remarks. You just want them to say whatever comes to mind and speak from their heart.
  16. If your attendees are flying or driving home at the end of the day, stretch out the meeting and introduce the speaker at the time you were to adjourn. Tell the audience things are running late, and traffic will be getting more congested, but the speaker refuses to shorten his speech. Tell them that you paid an exorbitant speaker’s fee so you might as well try to get your money’s worth.
  17. By following these suggestions, you can be one of those frustrated meeting planners who say, “You know, for some reason the speaker didn’t connect with our audience.” Or, “That’s the last time I’ll take that bureau’s suggestion for a speaker.”

 

Effective Ways to Promote Your Speaker


- Now that you have the right speaker – fill the room!

Chances are, the reason most of our members renew their dues each year is because they can’t afford not to. Associations provide the networking and educational tools people need to be successful, and much of this dynamic takes place at the meetings.

The importance of finding the right speaker to facilitate the learning process can’t be overestimated, but promoting your speaker once you’ve found them is just as critical. Here are some tips from the National Speakers Association (NSA) on how to build excitement and registration numbers once your have found the perfect expert for your group.

Teasers & Titles

Get off to a strong start by assuring the session has a catchy title – “Start with a short, and creative title followed by a subtitle that explains the benefit of the session.”

Successful brochures contain titles that capture attention but also immediately answer the question, “so what?” The subtitle should contain phrases such as “how to,” “10 tips,” “master five steps,” etc.

Most importantly, make sure the session matches the description.

Work Your Web Site and Create a Buzz with E-Mail

Familiarity breeds attendance, and your association’s Web site is a great tool to introduce your speaker to your potential audience.

Post a detailed description of the session and the speaker on your site. Photos of the speaker in action are a good addition. You can also ask your speaker to provide you with audio or video excerpts from a previous presentation to promote the program before the event. Be sure to provide your members with a link from your site to the speaker’s Web site. “Members can learn more about the speaker or obtain additional content before and after the program.”

When your event is over, post audio or video excerpts from the session to reinforce the program’s key points and educate members who were unable to attend.

If your association has an online book or tape store, feature your speaker’s materials prior to the presentation. If you have a chat room or bulletin board, consider slating some time for your members to chat with your presenter. A professional speaker will use this opportunity to get to know your member’s concerns and questions and will customize his or her speech accordingly. Your members will appreciate the opportunity to learn and participate.

E-mail is another easy and inexpensive way to promote your event and your speaker. Use it to remind your members to register. Send them links to information and online registration forms. Generate a pre-program buzz by sending an e-mail questionnaire to your members. The responses should go to the speaker, who can reveal the findings during the presentation. Add a personal touch by having the presenter send a “welcome” message to each of your attendees.

Word of Mouth

One of the best ways to promote your speaker is to get other members talking about them. Find out where your speaker is going to be presenting between the time when you hire them and when they will be presenting for your group. Invite members of your board of directors or event committee to see the presentation when your speaker is in their city.

Consider having the speaker address your chapters. Often, a speaker will negotiate fees when you book them for a number of presentations. Chapter newsletter editors often need additional material for their newsletters, so look into submitting an article on or from your presenter. Send them flyers to distribute at local meetings. Chapters are often the heart of an association, so don’t overlook their potential to spread the word about your presenter.

The Write Stuff

Chances are your presenter has written many articles on the subject at hand. You can also ask the speaker to craft a customized article for your group or have a member of your staff conduct an interview. Not only do these articles make a great addition to your association’s publication; they might also be a good fit for the publications of other industry-related associations you are building relationships with. Provide links to the articles on your Web site as well. This builds the speaker’s credibility and offers value-added information for your members.

If your speaker is published, use the speaker’s book to build excitement for the presentation. You can give attendees the book when they register. For added panache, have a book waiting to greet members in their hotel room along with a welcome letter from your president.  Books can even be personalized…depending on the size of the group.

The Media: Prepare

Gather everything you need to promote your speaker to the media. Request that the speaker provide you with photos. They can be black & white or color, either head shots or action shots. For Web publishing, 72 dots per inch will be fine. For print, save the image at 300 DPI.

The speaker should also provide you with a short biography and a brief write-up on the program including key points, what the attendees will learn and why the he or she is qualified to speak on the topic.

Prior to the event, send a short news release to the calendar editors at local daily newspapers and industry-related publications. Invite key editors to attend the event and make sure they get a copy of the program and other promotional materials. Contact local print and broadcast media to arrange interviews for your speaker and your key association leaders.

The Media: Ascend

Find out when your speaker is going to arrive and when they are available for interviews. Keep a close eye on the news the week of your event. Is there a way to tie your speaker’s expertise into a current news peg?  If you want local media to cover the speech, you must determine the news angle and pitch it hard. Think about what events would generate good photos or visuals for television cameras. Make follow-up calls to make sure the journalists have the information you sent them. Find out if the speaker has a publicist or PR firm and if so, partner with them on generating publicity. You want to get exposure for your association as well as the event, so give your speaker some short key messages to prepare them to discuss your group.

The Media: Summit

On the day of the event, messenger packages to key media. Write a media alert telling them who, what, when, where and, most importantly, why their audience needs to know about your event and your speaker. Add some goodies such as the speaker’s book, a video, a program and your association’s press kit and stuff it all in an attractive portfolio, preferably one with your association’s logo.

Finally, be prepared for the media when they arrive on site. Have one of your staff or a trusted volunteer free to squire them around. Introduce them to the subjects they need for interviews. Have a good place in mind to conduct the interviews and take photos–try to get your association’s name or logo in the background.

Post Event: Getting Back Down

Professional speakers know that a program is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process. They will often offer to send an e-mail to attendees with some value-added links to additional information. Your members should be able to benefit from the presentation long after it is over, and your association should continue to gain exposure as well. Look for anecdotes from your members about how they were touched or motivated by the session. How do they plan to implement what they have learned? Select the best photos and combine them with after-the-event news releases for ongoing exposure.

 

** Courtesy of National Speakers Association