For a Super Engaged Audience, Aim for Edutainment

In this era of constant distractions combined with higher expectations across the board, terms like “edutainment” are conceived every day as we try to define the higher bars we are all leaping over.

This couldn’t be truer in the event planning industry.

Education + Entertainment = Engaged Audiences!

People attend conferences to be educated, yes. But they expect to be entertained as well. No one wants to come away from a conference feeling overwhelmed by too much information that was delivered in an endless stream of dry, boring workshops and lectures. 

This is a new truth that can’t be ignored as you plan your next event and choose your speakers.

When you’re aiming for the edutainment factor at your event, it can be easy to go too far into the entertainment side of things. This leaves your guests feeling like they’ve been to a show but haven’t gained anything worthwhile.

Corporate event planning has its own unique challenges…for advice check out this post: Ten tips to make your corporate event unforgettable!

It’s important to strike a balance between education and entertainment

Ever since TED Talks came on the scene, the bar for keynote speeches and speeches, in general, has been raised. Attendees expect to be really impressed—no, blown away—by fascinating stories and funny anecdotes, sprinkled with inspiration as well as lots and lots of very useful facts and information. 

Ted Talk attendees leave those speeches feeling enriched as well as entertained.

Your choice of speakers makes all the difference when you want a focus on edutainment. 

It’s well documented that people of all ages learn best when they are engaged. 

Further, with university degrees having less and less value as the years go by, more people are interested in upgrading and learning new skills. 

A bachelor’s degree doesn’t cut it anymore. People in this workforce are now focused on constantly expanding their resumes and skillsets. Online free learning is more popular than it’s ever been.

Education is what people are looking for. More knowledge.

So when you are deciding on what speakers to hire for your next event, think carefully if you’re looking for the edutainment edge!

Choose speakers who not only have a smart message but are multi-talented as well. They’re not just a talking head, their presentations have flair and something unique to bring to your keynote stage. A speaker who combines education and entertainment at just the right balance will have your attendees laughing, clapping, singing or dancing while they are absorbing new knowledge.

When they think back on your event they will remember the fun they had, rather than the painfully boring keynote they listened to while trapped in a sea of attendees with their eyes glazed over. 

Search for speakers who focus on entertaining while they impart valuable knowledge. Some combine music with their speeches, or dancing, or comedy routines

And of course, contacting a speaker’s bureau is a great first step. Get in touch with us!

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How to book a celebrity: ten things you need to know to bag a big name.

Your ultimate event planning checklist!

Your perfect 7 step social media marketing strategy.

How To Book a Celebrity: Ten Things You Need to Know to Bag a Big Name

Hiring a speaker is a challenge in itself. Hiring a celebrity speaker is a whole different ballgame!

A celebrity speaker will drive lots of traffic and attention to your event; the free buzz that this person will create for you can pay for itself, it’s true. 

If you decide you want to book a celebrity for an upcoming event, you need to consider that there are two sides to this coin. 

But if you book a celebrity, you also need to be on a level of professionalism that you may not have achieved before. You have to have all your ducks in a row before you even consider contacting a celebrity to appear at your event.

Bring your “A” game.

If you appear in any way unprepared when you reach out to a celebrity’s PR team, they will not even consider your proposal because it will smell like a “waste of time”.

Celebrities don’t have time to waste. They also have their public reputations to consider. Most of them won’t appear at an event that won’t make them look good. If you come off as unprofessional at the get-go, they won’t sign on. 

The way to successfully book a celebrity is to approach their PR person with all the information they need in a concise document that allows them to assess your event, what it has to offer and make a quick yes or no decision. If your proposal is incomplete or messy, it will much more likely be a “no”. 

You don’t want that.

For them, time is money, so you need to have all your expectations set and ready to present up-front. With that in mind, we put together a list to help you present a strong proposal. 

How to book a celebrity: Ten things you need to know to bag a big name.

Your budget. 

Big surprise: celebrities cost a lot. Be prepared to pay a minimum of $50,000 all the way up to a six-figure number. 

Why you want to book a celebrity.

Don’t just choose celebrities at random, just for the sake of having a big name. Your celebrity’s presence at your event should make sense. So know the purpose and theme of your event, and choose a celebrity who fits in with that idea. An appropriate person will have a much stronger effect than someone who is there just for the sake of their celebrity status. 

How you want your celebrity to fit into your event.

Curate your celebrity speaker into your event for the greatest effect. Consider who they are and what they have to offer your attendees—would a full 60 or 90-minute keynote speech be appropriate, or a moderated Q & A session? Every speaker brings something unique to an event, even celebrities. Remember that when you are proposing your event to them.

Your event location.

The location of your event will affect which celebrity you will be able to book, because of two factors: 

  • Flying a celebrity from afar will cost more on your end.
  • You will need more time to book a celebrity speaker the farther you are from where they live. 

Your speaker may not want to fly thousands of miles. So the farther you are from city centers, allow more time to find someone who can.

Your timeline.

You need to know the exact dates and times that your celebrity will be speaking, down to the minute, before you contact them with your proposal. Most celebrities want to spend as little time as possible at your event (no offense, it’s a time thing) so they will arrive shortly before their allotted time and leave shortly afterward. Provide this information upfront.

Your team.

Your celebrity needs to know that there is a solid team ready to receive them. If they don’t know who to contact or your team seems to change on a daily basis, you will seem unprofessional and they won’t want to be involved. Make it clear who on your team does what, and how they should contact them.

Your speakers bureau.

Using a speakers bureau can cut down on a lot of back-and-forth and guesswork for you. It is a speakers bureau’s business to know which celebrities are available for speaking engagements, what they charge, and what their special expectations are. Engaging a speakers bureau to do all this legwork for you can save you a ton of time.

Not sure where to start? Check out our directory of celebrity speakers!

Who they are speaking to.

It’s important to know who your audience is, so your celebrity can know what to expect if they accept your offer. Also, they can curate their speech appropriately so they can have a greater impact, which is better for them and for your audience.

Your marketing plan.

All of your promotional material will need to be okayed by the celebrity’s PR team before it is distributed. To avoid wasted resources when they reject something you’ve already paid for, make sure you know how you plan to promote the event so you can get their approval as soon as possible.

Your Plan B.

This doesn’t go on your proposal. But it’s important to have a strong Plan B, because most celebrities will have a cancellation clause written into their contracts in case they are offered a film or other such engagement and need to back out suddenly. If this happens, you need to be ready to deploy your second-best speaker at a moment’s notice!

This list will help you get everything you need in line to book a celebrity for your event. We hope you enjoyed it. If you think we missed anything important, let us know!

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Your Ultimate Event Planning Checklist!

So you’ve done the hustle, you’ve sold your skills and pitched like crazy. And you did it—you landed that next big contract!

Well done…now what?

This one’s bigger than any event you’ve organized before and you’re feeling ever-so-slightly in over your head—you’re more nervous than excited! And you’re not sure where to start.

What you need is an event planning checklist that will ease your fears. 

With all the moving parts involved in planning an event, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But don’t panic—you’re at the very start. The perfect place to be to plan an unforgettable event from the ground up.

But first, you need to get organized.

With this event planning checklist, you can keep track of all those little details and make sure you don’t forget anything.

eSpeakers Ultimate Event Planning Checklist

14 to 18 months prior to the event:

  • Write your event planning checklist!
  • Select and hire your planning committee
  • Delegate tasks and responsibilities
  • Create a preliminary budget
  • Establish objectives, goals, and theme of the event
  • Create a website 
  • Put together a mailing list
  • Create a marketing plan
  • Send an email blast: save the date
  • Venue search/site visits
  • Begin soliciting sponsorship
  • Outline event agenda
  • If you are using one, hire a decorator 
  • Establish satellite events 
  • Establish logistical parameters:
    • Space requirements
    • Number of attendees
  • Send out RFPs for ancillary services (transportation, equipment rentals)

Looking for the perfect speakers for your next event? Search our speaker marketplace here!

10 – 16 months before the event:

  • Contract ancillary services
  • Establish rates and pricing/early bird pricing
  • Begin promotion!
  • Launch social media campaign and platforms
  • Build registration platform on the website
  • Finalize contracts with venues and pay deposits
  • Seek out and secure speakers and facilitators
  • Arrange transportation and accommodation for speakers and guests
  • Be sure your website(s) can handle increasing traffic

6 – 10 months before the event:

  • Open registration 
  • Finalize sessions
  • Layout program
  • Plan event logistics with vendors (travel, menus, etc.)
  • Print and send out brochures

3 – 6 months before the event:

  • Confirm menus and ancillary venues
  • Review audio-visual requirements
  • Begin your “Event Day Master List”
  • Determine the final print date
  • Keep the website updated with new information
  • Finalize speakers and agenda

1 – 3 months before the event:

  • Hire and train event staff
  • Order attendee materials and swag (nametags, t-shirts, notebooks etc.)

As a professional in the event planning industry, you’re in the perfect position to help your colleagues find the right speakers to make their meetings great! Connect with our SpeakerShare program to learn how you can make a commission from referring speakers!

6 weeks – 2 months before the event:

  • Finalize decorative details
  • Prepare post-event survey
  • Email and snail mail reminders to speakers

2 – 6 weeks before the event:

  • Print signage, programs, and other literature
  • Finalize attendance numbers
  • Troubleshoot digital/online apps and technologies

1 week before the event:

  • Review Master Plan
  • A/V run-throughs
  • Troubleshoot equipment
  • Event walk-throughs with key personnel
  • Email updates to speakers and other participants
  • Familiarize personnel with logistical details of venues
  • Collect all presentations on USB sticks
  • Prepare check-in materials
  • Close registration, provide final numbers to venues and hotels
  • Prepare gifts for speakers and participants
  • Train event support staff

Day of the event:

  • Meet and greet
  • Oversee smooth functioning, monitor safety and cleanliness put out fires

Week after the event:

  • Email post-event questionnaires
  • Send thank-you letters to VIPs and speakers
  • Post-event breakdown meeting with key personnel
  • Begin planning the next event!

An event planning checklist is essential to keeping organized whether you’re a veteran planner or are brand new to the industry. Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments.

Now, get planning!

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Corporate Event Planning: Ten Tips to Make it Unforgettable!

As all event planners know, corporate events are not all created equally. This can make corporate event planning a tricky business. An art, even.

Corporate events all have the same goal in mind: to bring a group—large or small—together for the purpose of inspiring them to do better in their professional lives, one way or another.

They can be engaging, emotionally-charged power-events, leaving attendees feeling united in their common purpose to advance their industries for the greater good of society as a whole!

Or, they can be awkward, boring snooze-fests that have the participants checking their watches and plotting their escapes out a side door.

If your work is in corporate event planning, an event like this can be a career-killer.

But, have no fear! We’ve compiled a list of ten tips to make sure your next corporate event is unforgettable.

Ten tips to make your corporate event unforgettable!

Be inspiring!

This is the whole point of corporate event planning and can’t be overlooked. If your attendees don’t leave your event inspired in some way, then you haven’t done your job as an event planner.

This is where the speakers you choose can play a key role in making your event unforgettable. Choosing the right person to speak to the particular challenges and issues of your participants can make all the difference between an event with impact and one that fades into distant memory.

Be interactive.

The main purpose of corporate event planning is to help businesses break down divisions that exist between their employees and various departments. This is also true for larger events that can work to bring people together who inhabit different areas of the same industry.

Through interactive activities such as workshops and icebreaker events, your participants will enjoy opportunities to get to know each other in more casual situations, rather than just sitting passively side-by-side at presentations and talks.

Be inclusive.

People love to feel included, especially in this era when so much of our lives are dominated by digital interactions rather than face-to-face. 

Spend lots of time during the event talking to participants, asking them how the event is going for them and how it might improve. Take polls and post the results. Create social media platforms dedicated to letting participants interact with each other. 

Did you know we have an interactive database of fabulous speakers? Check out the marketplace here.

Make your invitation…inviting!

The invitation is the first introduction to your event. So make sure it isn’t impersonal and humdrum, so recipients stay away from that delete button. Make your invitations thoughtful, informative, and reflective of the theme and intent of the event. If potential participants can get a good idea of what’s in store if they attend, they will be more likely to consider registering.

Pick a theme.

An integral part of your corporate event planning may include choosing a theme. 

A theme creates a narrative that can anchor your participants firmly in the experience. Find ways for attendees to participate, such as dressing to the theme or creating playlists they can download on their devices. 

Get educational.

Studies have shown that experiential learning is far more effective than passive learning, such as sitting and listening to lectures.

So, at your next corporate event make sure to include some experiential learning opportunities. This can include specialized training sessions or pop-up workshops. When an educational aspect is included in an event, it is transformed from a potential waste of time to a productive chance to improve skills and knowledge.

Choose your venue carefully.

A venue isn’t just a space—if chosen carefully, it can be elevated to an important part of your event’s story. So, put some thought into your venue selection. Choose something that fits with the theme and feel of your event. Also, a venue that has an interesting focal point or feature will add character to the even. It will also give your attendees a cool spot to gather.

Don’t forget to follow up.

Corporate event planning also means planning for the future. Post-event is a valuable time to gather feedback to put towards your next event, as well as making sure attendants don’t forget the experience they’ve just had. 

Send fun, interesting questionnaires to all the participants, inviting them to share what their favorite and not-so-favorite parts of the event were. 

Food and drink.

You’ve put so much thought into the venue, theme, content and speakers of your event. Don’t cop out when it comes to the food! 

What’s on the buffet tables may seem inconsequential compared to what’s on stage. But the truth is if you offer refreshments that go beyond the usual mediocre event fare, people will remember. Food matters, so don’t treat it like an afterthought!

Choose the right speakers.

Last but not least, the right presenters and keynote speaker will make or break your event. Choosing speakers correctly is not optional when corporate event planning, as they have the power to lift an event from mundane to memorable.

If you’re looking for an amazing, inspiring speaker for an upcoming event, make sure to reach out to us so we can help you find the perfect fit.

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Your perfect 7 step social media marketing event strategy

Your budget is set, the venue booked, speakers secured – now it’s time to promote your next event with social media marketing.

Of course, social media has to be a big part of that, but…

where to start?

The trick with all social media marketing is to be strategic and leverage your assets. The good news is that your event naturally will have a lot of assets, like speakers, sponsors, testimonials, attendees – even your event team.

Here is a 7-step social media marketing event strategy you can use to roll out social media promotion for all your events.

1. Less is best

Your first decision for social media marketing is to choose which social channels to focus on. Rather than trying to be everywhere, choose 2-3 channels you can easily manage. To get started, here are 3 questions to ask:

  • Where do you already have a following? There’s no point spending time promoting your event on Pinterest or Instagram if you have 100 followers – you’re efforts will get lost in the noise.
  • What channels are your audience using? If you are attracting a business audience, LinkedIn is great for B2B communication.
  • Where can you get noticed? Facebook may have the largest users, but to get your updates noticed you have to post into a group, create a Facebook event or use paid advertising.

For most B2B events, Twitter and LinkedIn will get you the most exposure, Facebook is more likely to get you the most engagement.

2. Build your strategy

“Video is an extremely effective medium to showcase the passion and enthusiasm your event inspires.” Social Media Examiner

Now that you have your social channels, it’s time to build a simple social media marketing strategy for your team. The goal should be to get maximum engagement and conversion with the smallest time commitment.

Start with these steps:

  • Upgrade your social profiles. Now is a great time to update the banners and company description on your social channels.
  • Delegate community management. Choose someone on your team to oversee the daily updates and replying to engagement.  
  • Create your event hashtag. Choose a hashtag that is easy to remember and use it everywhere, including the new banners for your channels.
  • Use video to get noticed. In our busy, digital-distraction world, video stands out in newsfeeds. Create a short highlight reel from last year’s event, encourage team members to capture clips at your venue – even working in your office. Also, ask for 30-second welcome videos from your main stage speakers (they should also post these on their channels.)
  • Add your event to your email signature.

3. Start early

“Many organizers forget to place enough time on event promotion using social media.” Canva

The earlier you start getting the word out on social, the sooner you will start to get traction. Of course, not everyone will get on board, but all you need is a small percentage to get the promotions started to start making noise. 

A good place to start is with the people you have the most influence over your team, main stage, and breakout speakers, sponsors, your venue event team, caterers, entertainers, and hotels. You might be surprised at the number of influencers on your list!

4. Get creative

“…make sure your hashtag is visible at your event so your guests know to use it. Include it in handouts and display it on screens throughout your venue.” Eventbrite

Look for opportunities to share the excitement of your event with creative posts. 

  • If you have a repeat event, use pictures from last year’s event to build excitement. 
  • As you secure your entertainers and speakers share the good news on social. Ask them to share as well.
  • Run fun contests to get more engagement, like asking followers to select their favorite thing to do in the host city.

5. Reward people

The more you reward people for using your event hashtag, the more you’ll see it being used. Have someone on your team check daily for mentions and then reward people with likes and shares.

At your event, have your host encourage attendees to Tweet using your event hashtag. At some events, organizers will install a flat-screen TV displaying a rolling Twitter feed so attendees can see their tweets going live!

6. Measure results

Planning a successful event is all about getting the biggest, best bang for your budget, right? Social media is no different. A part of your social media marketing planning strategy should be to monitor weekly some basic numbers:

  • Number of followers on each channel
  • Views and shares on your event updates
  • Number of times your hashtag gets used

7. Follow up after your event

“Social media messages should never be limited to text-only posts.” Dan McCarthy, Event Manager

After your event is a great time to keep the buzz going. Use social to get your event survey out, get attendees to share pictures, or promote your next event. People will be talking about your event and with a little encouragement the buzz will keep going (and promoting next year’s event.)

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you create a great event:

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Four Amazing Tips To Turn You Into A Powerful Public Speaker

Although it may be one of your biggest fears – it’s up there with death on peoples’ top five list of fears – public speaking is most likely going to be a part of your life at some point, so trying to avoid it and wheedle your way out of every opportunity to speak in front of more than two people just isn’t an option, or not a good one in any case. Instead, wouldn’t you rather be able to make public speaking into one of your skills – something to proudly show off on a CV, and wow your co-workers with during presentations? Spreading your ideas is easiest when you’re talking to people in person so that they can see your passion and interest firsthand, so making every single speech impactful with these four tips can help to shape your image and spread whatever message you need to get across.

1. Be Unselfish

“While one way of psyching yourself up before the ‘big speech’ might be to convince yourself that you’re an expert and everyone listening to you is just an idiot in their underwear (a commonly suggested thought process), this is terrible in practice.” Joe Worrell, a speaker at Writemyx.com and Nextcoursework.com, advises. “Your audience will feel alienated and be able to instantly notice your high and mighty status, whether that be through your body language or any complex terms which you use but don’t explain. To be as down-to-earth and accessible as possible, make sure that you speak in layman’s terms or explain complex concepts and terminology, and match your attitude and tone to the audience and situation.” A speech that works wonders for high school students, for example, won’t be accepted that easily by your co-workers and could be seen as condescending, while the vice versa situation may leave the students bored and confused. Don’t just think about yourself – consider your audience while planning any speech.

2. Use Powerpoint Properly

Media can be a brilliant asset to any speech or presentation – when used correctly. If it’s overused or relied on, your audience will become disinterested, and often assume that you have no actual passion for your topic. Someone reading off a computer screen in a monotone isn’t usually that convincing, but if you stand out in front of the media and only use it as a prompt, you’ll look a lot more passionate and knowledgeable. Also, your audience members won’t know every single line of your script if it isn’t on your powerpoint, so you’ll be able to keep the element of surprise and ‘planned spontaneity’ which make speeches so humanizing and relatable.

3. Mix Stories & Stats

Anecdotes can make an audience sympathize or empathize with you and understand your viewpoint. Statistics convince an audience and make them believe what you’re saying. “Both accurate stats and personal stories need to be used in equal measures to keep an audience engaged and convinced,” Natasha Hyde, a writer at Britstudent.com and Australia2write.com, says, “so don’t flood your speeches with stats and make them sound like one long financial report, but also don’t make them sound too much like old wives’ tales that you’d share with the family. Finding that balance, along with original content to keep the speech moving and flowing well, is the secret to crafting amazing speeches that will win over your audiences.”

4. Passion

There’s a simple rule you should always keep in mind while speaking publicly: if you’re bored, then so is the audience. You shouldn’t be making a speech about something that you’re not passionate about, and, if you are, you can expect it to be boring and lackluster – for certain business aspects of work, like presentations and meetings, this may be the norm. Still, if you’re speaking to an audience that you care about, with a message that you care about, then you’ll need to do more than read out notes and flick through a powerpoint. Throw yourself into your content and perform. Hand gestures and proper inflections in speech are useful markers for passionate speaking, but the best way to tell is to ask yourself if you want to be up in front of your audience, speaking to them. The answer might be a very, very quiet ‘yes,’ squashed by all your fears and doubts, but if it’s a definite ‘no,’ then passion might not be possible for you to grasp, and your speeches will suffer as a result.

eSpeakers guest blogger, Katrina Hatchett blogs about lifestyle at Academic Brits, and also enjoys working for Origin Writings as a valued member of the writing team. She is also involved in numerous business projects since one of her passions in life is identifying project problems and their solutions, which aren’t always that simple. Still, they do give her the satisfaction of problem-solving time and time again. Her main goal is to improve the effectiveness of everyone’s communication around the world, and one of the small ways by which she contributes to this goal is by writing for the Ph.D. Kingdom blog.

How to Avoid Scams that Target Speakers

Digital technology is an integral part of the speaking industry, creating new considerations when it comes to marketing and business development. Speakers want to build their business and connect with clients who are interested in paying for their services. But, unfortunately, there are scammers who take advantage of hungry speakers who are looking for new gigs.

Online scams are common in many industries, but the occurrence has recently increased for speakers. Here at eSpeakers, we want to help you be aware of potential scams so that you can keep yourself protected.