Why I’m (Still) Happy with Steve Gilliland, CSP, CPAE

Steve Gilliland, CSP, CPAE: a speaker known for his storytelling, comedy, and his ability to help people Enjoy The Ride! Steve’s blueprint to life Enjoy The Ride, helps people examine where they are personally and professionally. Something we could all do right now as we get through these tough times.

Steve shares why he’s still happy and helps you reflect upon your “why” of “Why I’m (Still) Happy.” He also shares a powerful message about the love he and his wife have, and why that’s important today as we try to get through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

So gather your family around, share this video with friends and co-workers, and share on your social media channels. Pass this “Why I’m (Still) Happy” video along because everybody can use some happy. Join the “Why I’m (Still) Happy” movement by subscribing to this channel and making an inspiring comment of hope and appreciation below. #WhyImStillHappy #TogetherAtHome

Ten Tips For Speakers to Increase Your Online Presence

So you’re a speaker, and COVD-19 has left you scrambling to shift your business online. So how do you increase your online presence?

As a speaker, you know that online presence is important. But now that people are conducting most of their business online, it’s more important than ever to have an online presence that packs a punch. In fact, an effective online presence is vital.

There has always been a lot of competition online—now more than ever. As a speaker, there’s a lot of pressure to get yourself out there and really “sell yourself” online.

Being certified is a great way to let customers know you’re a great virtual speaker. We offer a certification at eSpeakers….check it out here.

If your business model has been based on live presentations, you may be new to online presenting. All this online marketing stuff might be a bit intimidating. So we’ve put together this list of key points you should keep in mind as you’re building your new online presence. These ideas can help demystify the process of moving online and will help you feel confident selling yourself as a virtual presenter!

Ten Tips For Increasing Your Online Presence

1. Optimize your website.

Don’t tell us you don’t have a website, because we don’t want to hear it. The statistics say it all: almost 100 percent of consumers go online to find the services and items they’re looking for. So if you don’t have a website, first of all, where have you been? Second, leave this post and get online right now and get working on it.

For the rest of you who do have a website, now you have to optimize it. Make sure that it’s optimized for mobility, is visually appealing and easy to navigate. Contact information should be front-and-center and a click-to-call button is a great thing to have. You may even want to add a live chat feature or an app to your site.

2. Get social, but selectively.

Ten Tips For Speakers to Increase Online Presence: Social media

If you’re new to social media and marketing, an effective way to increase your online presence is to focus on two or three platforms instead of spreading yourself too thin by trying to be everywhere, all at once. Post regularly on two or three platforms and build your presence at a pace you can manage.

3. Build a web.

Your social media platforms should interact with each other. Don’t think of each platform as an entity unto itself but as a web, all connected to each other. Your posts should all link to each other and link to your site as well.

4. Be consistent.

You want to be a regular voice in your field who your community expects to hear from. To build your online presence, post consistently. That means on a schedule, without long lags in between posts, and not ten posts in one day, either. Use social media management tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite to help you schedule your posts and keep on track.

5. Be valuable.

Contrary to popular belief, building an online presence doesn’t just mean getting out as much content as you possibly can. Having a truly valuable online presence means putting out content that is thoughtful, helpful, and well-composed. If you are posting forgettable content, you will quickly be forgotten about. Post content of value and you will become a person of value.

6. Don’t stop blogging.

Blogging is great. Yes, you should blog. They are a great tool to increase your online presence by drawing people to your site and letting people know who you are and what you care about. But people are looking for more than just blogs these days. If you want to be relevant and engaging online, diversify your content by providing videos, webinars, contests, polls, or even hosting or guest hosting on a podcast. The sky’s the limit, check out what’s out there and get creative!

7. Roll video!

Ten Tips For Speakers to Increase Online Presence: Video

As a speaker, it is expected that you will have a demo reel (antiquated term, we know!) so potential clients can view you in action. Employ a professional to edit together a demo of your speaking engagements, make it visually exciting but also clear and concise, and post it on the front page of your website.

8. Engage with your online community.

Posting things passively and waiting for likes isn’t really going to cut it if you want to have a truly significant online presence. So get out there in your online communities, and engage! Start or participate in conversations, give feedback where it is asked for, answer questions…just be present and be helpful! This will help you become a more visible face in your online community, which will lead to connections and hopefully interest in what you are saying.

9. Get familiar with SEO.

Ten Tips For Speakers to Increase Online Presence: SEO

If you want to increase your online presence, SEO is something that you just need to learn about. Do research into what keywords apply to your message as a speaker, and think about how potential clients would search for you online. Then, learn how to apply these keywords and phrases to the various sections of your website and your posts. SEO is an invaluable tool for increasing online presence.

Click here for more on how SEO can help you build traffic to your website.

10. Be a guest.

Don’t forget to put yourself out there and engage with other speakers, planners, bloggers, and other people in your community. Offer your unique voice in the form of guest posts, podcast co-host, or speaker at an event. Getting out there and being heard as much as possible is the best way to increase your online presence and get people talking about you as a speaker!

We hope these tips to increase your online presence have been helpful. Have we left anything out? Let us know in the comments!

eSpeakers is offering virtual speaking certifications! Check them out here and take advantage of our members’ discounts.

Liked this article? Here are three more you might find useful:

Six steps for putting on a virtual event that works.
Virtual event planning: 8 tips to move your event online last minute.
Ten event planning tips for absolute beginners.

The No. 1 question on speakers’ minds today: How do I pivot to virtual?

Start your pivot by becoming a Certified Virtual Presenter, a new certification administered by eSpeakers. It’s a great way to let your customers know you’ve got the equipment, environment, and skill to deliver a great remote presentation.
Event organizers are looking for speakers who can present virtually. There’s a growing need for experts who can deliver their message remotely, with impact. Make it easy for them to hire you by proudly displaying the Certified Virtual Presenter badge on your website, email signature, online profile, and other marketing material.


Learn more about the certification.

When you’re ready, schedule your appointment. 
Prepare for your certification assessment.

You will spend 30 minutes in a live meeting with one of our certifiers, answering questions, and demonstrating. The assessment ends with a recording of you giving a 30 to 60 second virtual proof video.

Once certified, you will receive an email with instructions for adding the Certified Virtual Presenter badge to your website, email signature, and other marketing material. The badge will be added to your eSpeakers profile automatically.

The Certified Virtual Presenter standard has support from leading industry organizations.

FREE: Any eSpeakers customer who has had a paid eSpeakers account (PRO or PLUS, excludes Try4Ten promotion) for at least 2 months prior to certifying will have the $85 fee waived completely. It’s one way we can give back to our loyal friends. 
$49 USD: All other members, including free accounts through an association, can certify for a discounted rate of $49 USD through August 31, 2020. After that, the normal fee of $85 USD applies.

If you have any questions, learn how to prepare for your certification assessment. You can also send an email to  support@espeakers.com for help.

We hope this certification will help speakers and event organizers in our industry pivot to the new business landscape. 
Wishing you the best at this time! 

– The eSpeakers team

Virtual Event Planning: 8 Tips to Help You Move An Event Online at the Last Minute

Special Announcement:  
With all of the unrest and uncertainty in the world because of Covid-19, we chose to publish this article on event planning burnout to help you. Event planners and speakers alike, are facing a huge downturn because of canceled or postponed events, and here at eSpeakers we are no different. If you are struggling with how to approach the coming months, you should also read our article about how to move your speaking career to the virtual sphere.

There is no question that COVID-19 has shaken up the events industry and has planners scrambling to adapt to this new environment. 

Virtual event planning used to be a sideline. Now it’s the main event.

Even seasoned veterans are suddenly having to learn new skills on the fly as technology and online platforms become the modus operandi. 

So if you’re a planner with one or several events on the go, you may be finding yourself needing to move one or all of them online. And you may be panicking!

The good news is, it’s not as complicated as you think. If you can handle putting on a live event, virtual event planning is well within your capabilities. A lot of the basics of virtual event planning are the same as with live events—it’s all connecting people and finding ways to engage with them. It’s just slightly different and there are some technical basics you need to get a grasp of. 

But if you take the following steps, you can be on your way to virtual event planning like a pro. 

Don’t cancel that meeting! Speakers and experts can present virtually.

Virtual Event Planning: 8 Tips to Help You Move An Event Online at the Last Minute

1. Recalibrate.

It’s important with virtual event planning to be sure that your event makes sense for online venues. Take a look at your event, all its components, and figure out which will work in an online environment and which won’t. If there are any elements of the event that won’t shift online easily, switch them out with something else or lose them altogether—don’t waste time trying to shoehorn something in that just won’t fit. For example, a workshop type breakout session with lots of hands-on interaction might not work. But a seminar can easily be adapted to a webinar with a few tweaks.

2. Grab a platform.

Next, you need to choose your platform based on what your event’s needs are. There are countless options of software available that can include live streaming, real-time interaction, polls, question-and-answer functions, and event registration. Here is a link to some options. You can also use social media to live stream your event on platforms such as YouTube Live and Facebook Live. These options have the benefit of a built-in audience and are easy to use.

3. Figure out your venue(s).

Planning a virtual event might seem easier when it comes to venue arranging. But you can’t just host it in your various presenters’ living rooms. That will look unprofessional and will cheapen the look of your event. So organize venues that still have presentation value, such as boardrooms or other event spaces.

4. Rally your audience.

If you’re moving your event online because of COVID-19 it’s likely your audience is already anticipating the change. But once you have your platform organized it’s time to email your attendees with detailed information such as when each event will take place, how to access it, and how to sign up and use it. Let them know how the event will maintain its value even though it’s online, and where there is lost value, be sure to let them know where there will be financial adjustments. Make sure you leave the lines open for them to ask questions if they are confused about how to proceed. You don’t want to lose your audience because they can’t figure out the technology.

5. Get the word out.

The awesome thing about virtual event planning is that the sky’s the limit when it comes to your audience! No longer limited by physical locations and travel/scheduling logistics, you can market your event all over the world to whomever you please, as long as they have an internet connection. So do some quick marketing on social media to get the word out to a larger audience. But, do be aware of time zones and how you should schedule your event accordingly.

6. Add interactivity.

Without a live presenter and audience, you lose out on a lot of interactivity when planning a virtual event. Luckily there are a host of options to keep your audience engaged and talking to each other and the presenters. Virtual lobbies, live chats, Q&A sessions, surveys, and contests are all ways to make your attendees feel like they’re part of a larger group. These features also add a ton of value to your event and will keep people talking about it even after it’s over.

7. Hire a crack emcee.

Your online event needs a strong host to hold it all together, to be the spokesperson who is visible across all the different aspects of the platform. As there are a lot of particulars involved in a virtual event that is different from live ones, including technological quirks that need to be figured out, it is best to hire an emcee who is familiar with online hosting. This person should not only be able to command an online audience, but they should also be familiar with online platforms and capable of handling any technical glitches that arise.

8. Get feedback.

Don’t forget to follow up with your attendees (and presenters) to find out exactly what worked for them and what didn’t. Send out a questionnaire with a small incentive to return, and use what you learn to make your next virtual event even better. 

Good luck with your virtual event planning! 

Looking for the perfect speakers for your virtual event? Search our speaker marketplace here—we’ve even added a new “Virtual Presentation” filter to our search criteria.

Did you find this article helpful? Here are three more you might enjoy:

Six steps for putting on a virtual event that works.
Why are these people (still) happy during a pandemic?
Ten event planning tips for absolute beginners.

Why I’m Still Happy with Marilyn Sherman CSP, CPAE

Marilyn Sherman CSP, CPAE: a hall of fame speaker known for inspiring people to have a positive mindset when times are tough.

Marilyn shares why she’s still happy and helps you reflect upon your “why” of “Why I’m (Still) Happy.” She also shares a story about Lou Zamperini and encourages us to think of him when times are tough.

So gather your family around, share this video with friends and co-workers, and share on your social media channels. Pass this “Why I’m (Still) Happy” video along because everybody can use some happy. Join the “Why I’m (Still) Happy” movement by subscribing to this channel and making an inspiring comment of hope and appreciation below. #WhyImStillHappy #TogetherAtHome

Why I’m Still Happy with Tim Gard CSP, CPAE

Tim Gard CSP, CPAE: a hall of fame speaker known for using his humor to help people become more resilient when times are tough.

Tim shares why he’s still happy and helps you reflect upon your “why” of “Why I’m (Still) Happy.” He also shares his famous bug glasses and professional nose flute playing skills.

So gather your family around, share this video with friends and co-workers, and share on your social media channels. Pass this “Why I’m (Still) Happy” video along because everybody can use some happy. Join the “Why I’m (Still) Happy” movement by subscribing to this channel and making an inspiring comment of hope and appreciation below. #WhyImStillHappy #TogetherAtHome

Why I’m Still Happy with Dr. Willie Jolley CSP, CPAE

Willie shares why he’s still happy and helps you reflect upon your “why” of “Why I’m (Still) Happy.” He also sings a song that he wrote to lift the spirits of the world during COVID-19.

Why I’m (Still) Happy with Willie Jolley CSP, CPAE: a hall of fame speaker known for motivating and inspiring others to achieve more.

So gather your family around, share this video with friends and co-workers, and share on your social media channels. Pass this “Why I’m (Still) Happy” video along because everybody can use some happy. Join the “Why I’m (Still) Happy” movement by subscribing to this channel and making an inspiring comment of hope and appreciation below. #WhyImStillHappy #TogetherAtHome

Why are these people (still) happy during a pandemic?

Here at eSpeakers, we thought it would be nice to have a little break in the day to hear something that makes you feel good.

We talked to some of our friends (who happen to be the best motivating, inspiring speakers on the planet) to help us out with this project. Together, we’ve created a YouTube channel to share 5-10 minute stories that will make you laugh, give you hope, and encourage you to keep going during this tough time. Won’t that be a nice break?

Watch Jason Hewlett, CSP, CPAE explain why he’s (still) happy

On this YouTube channel, we’ll host live broadcasts on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:00 pm EST, as well as posting some pre-recorded videos. Just hit “subscribe” while you’re watching this video to be notified of the events and new videos when they’re up. Our hope is that these short, sincere thoughts from talented speakers will remind us of all the “whys” there are to be happy, no matter what else is going on around us.


Our first video comes from Jason Hewlett, CSP, CPAE: a hall of fame speaker known for his heartfelt stories, musical talent, and crazy impressions. He shares a little incident he had with a dog that might make you think differently about your “why”.

So gather your family around, share this video with friends and co-workers and on your social media channels. Because everybody can use some happy.

#WhyImStillHappy #TogetherAtHome


– Your friends at eSpeakers

What’s Your Plan B? What to Do If Your Keynote Speaker Canceled Last Minute

So you’ve spent months and months planning an event. It’s the biggest ever, you’ve pulled out all the stops and covered all your bases. You’ve planned for every single possible contingency. Especially the biggest one. Your keynote speaker canceled at the last minute.

A nightmare, right? You’ve printed all the programs and posters with that person’s face all over them. Attendees have bought tickets with the promise of hearing an awesome keynote speech from this particular speaker. And the—admittedly, rare—unthinkable has happened. One of the worst things that could happen, really.


Being the professional planner that you are, you’re prepared with your Plan B, right?

I hope so! 

Here is a list of some Plan Bs for when your keynote speaker cancels at the last minute (I know it seems unlikely, but it does happen!).

Five Plan B tips for when your keynote speaker cancels last minute.

1. Crowdsource your crowd for a networking opportunity. 

Be upfront with your audience that your keynote speaker canceled, then turn that negative into a positive. Turn the empty time slot into an opportunity to have a group think tank. Have some talking points ready, ask your attendees to form groups and discuss the points on a timer with a buzzer. Invite them to reform new groups every time the buzzer rings and assign a new talking point. The points can be anything from current social issues to favorite kitchen hacks. Keep things moving at a fast pace and your audience will be laughing and forming new connections in no time. When time is up, have audience members share their favorite thoughts from the session for a larger group discussion. This lively interaction will quickly distract your audience from the missing keynote.

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

2. Appoint another guest as your substitute.

Many larger events feature many talented people. Well before the event, approach one of them and ask if they would like to be your substitute keynote speaker. Most speakers will jump at that opportunity. You will have to compensate them for their additional responsibility, but as your keynote will have forfeited their compensation, (unless their contract states otherwise) you will have space in your budget. If this happens, you can advertise their original session as an extension of their keynote.

3. Mine your past speakers.

Your past speakers can be a great resource in a pinch because you already have a positive working relationship with them; they trust you and you trust them. If your keynote speaker cancels, run through your list of past speakers and call any who are in your area and might be able to help you out with a last-minute favor. They already know that you’re good for your word, so will be more likely to stick their neck out for you. 

4. Create a panel session.

Choose five or six big players from your audience or list of other presenters. Have a strong moderator appointed, and line your panel up in chairs on the stage for a group discussion around a current topic that is pertinent to the industry. Field questions from the audience and keep the discussion moving and interesting.

5. Work with a speakers bureau.

When your speaker cancels last minute, your best Plan B is to have a speakers bureau in your back pocket ready to be dispatched. As professionals who have years of experience in the industry, a speakers bureau has countless speakers at their fingertips and the ability to pull in favors to get you a great backup speaker fast. A speakers bureau does all the legwork and paperwork for you so all you have to do is make the call and wait for your speaker to arrive.

There is a lot to think about when planning an event, and your speakers are arguably the most important part. Ready to start taking the guesswork and legwork out of booking a speaker and leave the particulars to the professionals? Don’t hesitate to contact us to get started.  

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to you might enjoy:

7 tips to save money when you’re planning an event.
How to book a celebrity: ten things you need to know to bag a big name.
Your ultimate event planning checklist!

eSpeakers.com Launches Blackwood Talent & Entertainment To Connect Today’s Top Entertainment with the Events Industry through the Largest Directory of Talent.

SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 22, 2019 — Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know. That saying proves true within the entertainment industry, as indicated by the glowing success of Blackwood Talent & Entertainment’s recent launch of an entertainment industry-specific talent directory. As a division of eSpeakers.com, which has over 20 years of experience in the meetings industry, eSpeakers launched Blackwood Talent & Entertainment to serve entertainers and event organizers around the world. The new online talent directory, which launched on Sept. 10, 2019, at IMEX America in Las Vegas, helps event organizers target top talent for their meetings and events, including entertainers, comedians, musicians, celebrities, athletes, and more. Many entertainers have exclusive representation, but through partnerships with these agencies, Blackwood has made it possible for everyone to hire top talent. 

“Finding, connecting with, and hiring top entertainment online is a challenge for most event organizers, and that’s where our directory technology comes in to save the day,” says Joseph Heaps, Blackwood’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Through our innovative platform, we’re providing verified reviews that are vetted by past clients, collaborative tools that allow multiple event stakeholders to share feedback on potential entertainers, and a no-risk booking as Blackwood Talent & Entertainment works with entertainers who guarantee their work, or they get their money back.” 

This innovative online talent directory will feature stars such as Chris Rock, The Passing Zone, Aparna Nancherla, Sam Smith, Shelita Burke, Katy Perry, and Ellen DeGeneres. “It’s exciting to see event organizers connect and hire potential entertainment in this way, especially considering how difficult it is to connect with or even find out who represents them,” Heaps says. “Event organizers are tasked with executing a successful event, and we know that having the right entertainment on stage can engage the attendees and create a fun and exciting atmosphere. Our goal is to make finding, hiring, and paying the talent easy so they can focus on all the other aspects of the event.”

As the momentum behind finding and hiring entertainment online continues to grow, so does the company behind it. Blackwood Talent & Entertainment is a division of eSpeakers.com. eSpeakers.com is the largest online directory of speakers, trainers, authors, and consultants available online today. Online bookings for entertainment through this technology have surged over the last two years, necessitating the need for growth of a stand-alone branded directory.

For more information, visit http://www.blackwoodtalent.com

Blackwood Talent & Entertainment is a division of eSpeakers.com. With over 20 years of experience in the meetings industry, eSpeakers launched Blackwood Talent & Entertainment to serve entertainers and event organizers around the world. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT, Blackwood Talent & Entertainment also has offices in Nashville, TN, and Newport Beach, CA. 

Media contact: 
Joseph Heaps
Chief Marketing Officer
Blackwood Talent & Entertainment
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