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Trip to Asia and How to Select Speakers for Your Events

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Trip to Asia

I just got back from a successful trip to HongKong and the Philippines. I grew up in Manila and still very much enjoy going back to visit.

Leaving from Los Angeles on Cathay Pacific, they make it super easy to make a stopover in Hongkong, which I did. The difference between the two cities is amazing.

In HongKong the people are fairly distant and super efficient. The Filipinos are unbelievable friendly and a BIT less efficient.

In Hongkong, everything works. In Manila many things don’t work.

One of the BIG highlights was getting to physically meet my webmaster, Stanley. He’s been working with me over 3 years. This was our first face to face meeting.

We were able to spend quite a bit of time together. He’s a great guy and continues to train other webmasters. If you need one or need hosting, make sure to contact
him at: stanley (at) dumanig (dot) com.

I was also able to go back to my old school, IS Manila. The physical campus I used to go to has now been torn down. Coincidentally, the place where I stayed is right near the now vacant lot. A bit sad.

They were pretty cool to me as an alumni. They even had me talk to a couple of classes. A tough group to teach!

Where I was staying I also noticed a dentist’s office. The name was the same as my childhood dentist. I walked in only to find out it was the same person. He is still practicing and his kids are working with him in the practice.

When I need any dental work in the future it will probably be cheaper to go back to get it done. Last I checked, they charge about 20% of the prices here in the U.S.

How to Select Speakers for YOUR Events

If you ever do your own seminars and events, you may want to invite others to speak.

This is a risky business.

If those speakers don’t perform well, YOU look bad.

Here are some of my tips for making the evaluation as to who to invite. You obviously want to invite the BEST speakers you can get to speak at your event, so let me define what I think is BEST.

By way of background, let me tell you that I worked with CareerTrack doing seminars for almost 4 years. I consider this to be my “off broadway” work. It taught me a lot about how to do events. I figured out what worked and what didn’t.

While at CareerTrack I got the highest ratings as both a presenter and in sales of anyone doing the same topics I did. This is just a FACT. One which is measurable.

Over the course of about 9 months I asked attendees at my events to write down on a piece of paper the answers to the following question: What do YOU think makes a great speaker?

I got over 2200 responses from a variety of audience members. True statisticians may question my methodology, but the it was a more or less RANDOM sample of seminar attendees.

When I compiled the results, the answers were very easy to sort. There were three answers that were clearly at the VERY top of the list. Those three answers also had a very specific order.

Number 1 was Sincerity. People like people who they perceive as REAL. They are the same people on and off the stage.

Number 2 was Content. People like speakers who knew their stuff and could communicate it effectively.

Number 3 was Humor. People liked people who made them laugh. The best humor was self-effacing. Where the speakers made themselves the butt of the jokes.

Here are my suggestions for selecting YOUR speakers:

1. Get people who have content.

This sounds fairly obvious, but, unfortunately it is not. Many people speak at events who know, or have very little to say about the topic. Sometimes they are just there to sell stuff.

My friend Terry Dean has improved a lot as a speaker since the time I first met him and first saw him speak.

Terry is not your silver-tongued professional speaker type. However, he is, one of the most knowledgeable experts in his field. (He’s an internet marketing guy).

Terry knows his stuff.

I think the fact that he is NOT a polished speaker actually makes him MORE credible and gets him higher audience evaluations as it turns out.

So, make sure that you get people who have content.

2. Get people who know how to teach.

Many people who have content don’t know how to teach it. This is a problem. If they have the smarts but can’t communicate it effectively, then you are NOT the right person to speak at an event.

The only way to know whether or not you have someone who can teach is to watch them do their thing. Don’t use someone to speak at your events who you have not seen deliver the content you want them to deliver in another venue.

Be careful of asking someone to speak who has knowledge about a topic and you’ve seen speak on a separate topic.

3. Put personal feelings to the side when selecting.

Think of your audience FIRST. If you want to do an event that will have EVERYONE excited to be there make sure that you get the BEST people.

This may not be people you like. So what?

Your first obligation is to your audience. You owe them the best people to speak on any given topic. If you don’t happen to like them, too bad. Ask them to speak anyway.

You’ll be the star if you get the RIGHT person to speak on any given topic regardless of how YOU feel about them. PERIOD.

4. Use audience evaluations to get the FACT.

What you think about how well someone did on stage is not nearly as important as what your AUDIENCE thought.

Keep your evaluations short and try and give people an incentive for handing them in.

I would suggest that you have an absolute MAXIMUM of 10 questions, 5 would be better. Make sure that people understand the scale you are using.

Everyone understands the 10 point scale. Make sure to remind them that 1 is BAD and 10 is GOOD to make sure your data is accurate.

If someone doesn’t get great evaluations then don’t let them come back to speak. No excuses, no exceptions.

5. Get people who are both funny and real.

You will have to keep people entertained and you want them to perceive your speakers as NON BS artists.

Only you can determine whether or not your potential speakers fit this bill.

6. Get someone who has an opinion/position.

I don’t care if it’s YOUR opinion or the same opinion as your audience members, but get someone with some backbone.

Even if some of your audience members don’t agree with a particular viewpoint, at least they will know where the person stands.

I’d have Bill O’Reilly speak at my event before I’d invite Larry King.

7. Have others review your list.

Don’t operate in a cocoon. Get a number of well trusted advisors to give you their feedback on your potential speakers.

If you find a consensus of opinion that is different from your own, then ask yourself some hard questions. It may be YOU who has blinders on.

Just make sure to surround yourself with people who will give you their honest opinions.

8. Google the keywords in your topic to find people.

One of the best ways to identify potential speakers in a given topic area is to google the keywords that would cover their topic.

If you find people in the top 10, they MAY be a potential speaker at your event. Check them out to see if they meet the other above criteria.

Book Reviews

I’ve been doing some reading lately and thought you’d be interested in some of the reviews.

The first one is Super Crunchers by Ian Ayres

I have only one sign in my office. It says: “Measurement Eliminates Argument.” If something can’t be quantified or measured it’s hard to evaluate, discuss, or come to any verifiable conclusions about.

This book is right in line with this thinking.

For anyone who wants to understand metrics of any kind this book is essential reading. I don’t even want to tell you anything more about it.

The only thing that I will say is if you think data and measurement are important to you and/or your business this book is ESSENTIAL reading.

Second one: Clapton

Eric Clapton’s autobiography was an interesting read.

Like most of the rockstars of that era, he had the usual list of vices: women, drugs, alcohol, etc.

He wrote the book himself and his writing style is average.

If you like him or his music, it’s worth picking up. For me it was particularly interesting to read about the tragic incident I remember vividly with his son, Connor.

I was in NYC when it happened. His soon died falling out of a window of a high rise. The way that he got through this disaster and turned his life around is a great story.

It always amazes me that people like Clapton and Keith Richards are still ALIVE. The amount of boozing and drugs they did should have killed a small army!

Third one: Born Standing Up (Steve Martin)

Wow. There is a lot of stuff I didn’t know about this “wild and crazy guy.”

He is a VERY good writer and the story is interesting to anyone who likes him or stand-up comedy in general.

The way he got to where he is – amazing! I enjoyed this one a lot.

Another great example of how to become an overnight sensation in 20 years or less!

NSA Update

I will give you my update on the NSA lab I just attended sometime next week.

What I CAN tell you is that my good friend Jim Ziegler left before the event was over.

More on this topic next time.

Why is Mike Huckabee Leading the Republicans in Iowa?

I just watched Mike Huckabee doing a stump speech in Keene, New Hampshire. Wow! If you get a chance to see this (check youtube or C-span), you should do it.

He is the complete opposite of Hillary.

For the record, I don’t think there is a LOT of difference between the parties.

This guy is the MOST real of all of the candidates. Listen to him speak. I don’t care if you agree with him.

Watch what this guy does. He is as real as real can get. You can’t script this kind of thing.

Whether you agree or disagree with his positions, it’s clear that he is telling you exactly what he REALLY thinks. Not what his pollsters have told him to say.

According to the polls, he is now 3 points up on theother major candidates. Proof in my opinion that Iowans can tell REAL from B***S***T.

Talk to you soon,


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