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A SPEAKER DOES MORE than establish the theme of your conference or meeting. Right from the start, he or she will determine the quality of your event, so it pays to do your homework and invest in someone who will make your event great before and after the keynote address. Here are a few suggestions to guide you in getting the most from your event speaker:

» Before you book a speaker, ask questions about what he or she does to ensure that the presentation will be engaging. Will she customize content and case examples to the audience? What techniques does the speaker use to make the presentation interactive? Will the speaker offer any giveaways or take-home resources (handouts, books, suggested readings or links)? Will there be time for a Q&A session? Can audience members submit questions ahead of time? A speaker who is a deep expert and lives the message will be willing to add value in many ways.

» Asking the speaker to do more than deliver a keynote can be a win-win for the speaker and the event participants. For example, inquire if the speaker would be willing to host or facilitate an additional panel discussion during your event. Panel discussions offer an opportunity to showcase expertise in a smaller, more intimate venue. If the speaker is an author, discuss the possibility of holding a book signing or break-out meeting to discuss the content of the book. Book signings also allow attendees an opportunity to ask follow-up questions, engage the speaker in informal conversations and encourage networking.

» Think you’re ready to sign that contract? Not yet! Consider asking the speaker what he or she will do to follow up with the audience after the event. Some speakers will facilitate a debrief session to capture learning from the event or offer an ongoing informational exchange, such as a subscription to a free online newsletter, that keeps the theme alive. Others will solicit and disseminate best practices learned from attendees.

Speakers can do more than deliver a keynote or closing address. If you know what to ask for, speakers can help you create an even more memorable event by engaging the audience, offering additional interactions after the speech and providing follow-up once everyone has gone home.

SHAWN KENT HAYASHI is a high-performing teams consultant and executive coach from Center Valley who shares her expertise as a speaker and author. She has also written six books.

In England tea time is a right of passage, but here in the U.S., enjoying tea with friends or family is often reserved for special occasions.

Luckily, Pennsylvania is flush with tea rooms serving up everything from simple cream teas to delectable sandwiches, pastries and savory treats.

These tea rooms invite guests to step away from the rush of everyday life and enjoy a few hours sipping tea and enjoying the company of colleagues.

 

INSPIRATION

The texture of the Norman Arch leading into the historic Masonic Temple in Philadelphia inspired this clean, midcentury modern table.

DETAILS

This summer table fit for a special event, such as a chairman’s dinner, features a mix of midcentury design with modern elements. Carolyn Rizzo, head designer of Garnish, says this technique is easily accomplished in décor but challenging to pull off in event design.

 

Organization is key to a planners’ success; a system for staying on track makes for a sense of control, even for the largest of workloads. But keeping track of daily tasks, upcoming events and goals can be overwhelming, and rarely are all those things recorded in one place. That is until the Bullet Journal took hold. Ryder Carroll, inventor of the Bullet Journal, calls it “an analog system for the digital age that will help you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future."