David Penglase – The Real Value of PCOs Speakers Working as Intentional Partners
By David Penglase
To maximise the value that can be created when Professional Conference Organisers (PCOs)* and Professional Speakers work as intentional partners, we can turn to the famous words of John F. Kennedy when he asked his fellow Americans to “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.
When I was asked to contribute an article on what PCO’s can do to work better with speakers, JFK’s words rang in my ears, because I don’t think it is so much of a question about what can the PCO do for the conference speaker, it’s more about what the conference speaker ought to be doing to ensure they work in partnership with the PCO to deliver an outstanding audience experience, aligned with the conference theme and goals.
I was privileged recently to present at two MEA conferences on the importance of trust and relationships to our success in business. The first was at the annual convention on Hamilton Island where my presentation was on The Art & Science of Account Management, and more recently at The Event Show at Royal Randwick Racecourse where my presentation was on Sponsorship is Dead… Long Live Partnerships!
At the very heart of both presentations was the importance of trust relationships and just one of many examples of trust relationships for PCOs is the relationship they build with professional speakers.
After 21 years as a professional speaker, together with my business partner and wife of 31 years, Liz and I have developed what we refer to as our Conference & Event Partnership Plan.
There are 8 key components to our Conference & Event Partnership Plan, and while the following outline is very much about the way Liz and I do business in partnership with PCO’s, my intention in sharing the outline here is because it provides PCO’s with a comprehensive checklist for what they ought to expect from professional speakers, and also an outline of what the professional speaker needs to ensure they are working in partnership with their PCOs:
1. Quick Response Times: We realise how time crucial planning and decision making is for PCO’s, for that reason, Liz and I aim for a response time for a conference enquiry and diary hold of within 2 hours.
2. Clarify & Honour The PCO/Client Brief: We take client/PCO briefs very seriously. We seek to know the conference theme, full agenda with other speakers and topics, client/PCO goals and expectations, audience demographics, key issues and opportunities audience is facing, logistics etc. The more information we have, the more we can research and tailor the presentation.
3. Research and Tailor Presentation: This is key to a seamless series of presentations. We don’t see my presentation as a stand alone event. It needs to include language and examples that the audience can relate to. Often this will include a series of pre-conference in-company interviews.
4. Pre and Post Value-add Communication: We have in-house video production that allows us to (when appropriate) provide pre-conference short video introductions to ‘sell the sizzle’ of my presentations to get the audience engaged and familiar with me and the value of the topic to them personally. We also provide a short post-conference video and conference specific vip resource page on our website that delivers further value as promised during the conference presentation.
5. Flexibility: We pride ourselves on being as flexible as the PCO needs. If that means cutting my presentation short, or expanding the presentation because of timing issues, the answer is always… “Whatever you need to make this work best!”
6. Arrive Early, Meet Conference Team: Apart from finding the relationships we’ve developed one of the most enjoyable parts of the professional speaking business, getting to know the conference support team and audio-visual professionals is high priority… it’s a partnership and team event, and we like to work that way.
7. Dynamic Presentation, Finish On-time: My role is to inspire, challenge, educate and entertain in every presentation and masterclass, and every PCO can be assured that my presentation finishes at the agreed time.
8. Be Available Post-Presentation: Wherever my schedule allows, we try to ensure there is sufficient opportunities for the audience members to meet with me after my presentation.
While some speakers sadly adopt a ‘DIVA’ approach when they arrive at a conference, there is real magic that can happen when they drop the prima-donna attitude and adopt a team and partnership approach.
At both presentations I conducted recently for MEA, I asked the audience if they agreed with me that their business success depends on the trust relationships they have. And of course, 100% of the audience agreed. As professional speakers and PCO’s, we don’t get trust… we earn it, and when we work together, in genuine and intentional partnership, the outcome will always be the delivery of an outstanding result for the audience and client.
About the author:
DAVID PENGLASE is an in-demand conference speaker and masterclass facilitator on leadership, sales and customer service. Combining real-life humour, on-stage energy, the power of story and the latest research from the field of positive psychology, David ‘comfortably disrupts’, and inspires people to achieve at their best. For more information visit www.davidpenglase.com
*PCOs also refer to event co-ordinators, event managers and marketing managers.
“As the keynote speaker at our Franchise Conference, David was engaging, motivational and entertaining. The feedback we received was more than positive and we were impressed with how his presentation was tailored to our personal needs.” -- SHARYN HOPKINS, NETWORK PERFORMANCE COORDINATOR, L.J. HOOKER