When I was younger I read almost all motivational and personal development books ranging from leadership, finance, public speaking you name it… Some of the ones I still remembers are How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, of which I also attended the public speaking course, The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, several books by John C. Maxwell, the biography of Richard Branson, to mention a few. Then it calmed down because I went to university and didn’t have much time to read so this topic of personal development just faded from my daily life – until recently that I attended couple of talks by celebrities, social influencers and successful entrepreneurs who shared their journeys and success stories.
These are their stories. Don’t we often talk about storytelling in events? Maybe here it is where a motivational speaker comes in and can amplify your event story and succes. Each of the speakers I listened to had a very good story to tell, from being pregnant with third child and winning a big contract to starting a business from the bedroom or realising it is time to change and reinvent oneself and achieving phenomenal success against all odds.
I remember the talk by Karren Brady speaking at the Confex which was extremely popular and no other talk filled the room as much as she did. She had a great story to tell, being a businesswoman in a men dominated industry – and that is one of the most popular topics in our industry as well. On the other hand, at the talk I attended by Michelle Mone at the June Kruger Cowne Breakfast Club, it was a perfect example of a women juggling between family life and her business. The Women in Events campaign by Event Magazine and Fast Forward 15 mentorship scheme by Zibrant are key industry topics to encourage women to aspire to senior roles within the industry and these two talks I think could appeal to any (female) event professional.
Michelle Mone and Amber Atherton at the June Kruger Cowne Breakfast Club
Besides having a good story, celebrities, social influencers and motivational speakers have enormous amount of followers across the different social media platforms and one post from them can boost traffic to your website and increase ticket sales. At the Adverting Week Europe I attended the session “The Explosive Growth Of Influencer Marketing And What It Means For You”. These are YouTubers and bloggers who work with brands, review and endorse their products and services on their platforms. One of the points mentioned during the discussion was “while celebrities drive significant brand awareness, working with social influencers generates earned media and chatter which doesn’t happen with celebrities and drives purchase intent”. Amber Atherton also shared the same opinion at the June Kruger Cowne Breakfast Club. Her blog became one of country’s first e-commerce websites, success she attributes to the role of social media played in its growth, mainly thanks to Twitter and Instagram. On Instagram, for example, the website has a community of 350 girl ambassadors who support the brand by having the website link in their bio and Twitter is often the first point of contact for major business deals.
Hiring a high profile speaker is very expensive, I don’t know how much each of the mentioned above charges, but rumours are it starts from the four to five digit range. I do believe that getting a high profile speaker is good for the event because it creates high anticipation and you can justify the (high) ticket price for the attendees or event sponsorship. High profile speakers are always prepared, self-aware, handle press very well, very confident and have strong stage presence which I also think justifies their speaking fee.
I do think that high profile speakers can outsell your event. However, when looking to hire a speaker, it is important, more than its name or the brand, is to know that the speaker can establish a rapport with the audience, have a story the audience can identify with and take something from it.