A Few Rules of the Virtual Road

I have been on so many virtual events that I actually pinched a nerve in my back. Not fun! Let’ put that aside for the moment. Virtual Events have become our full-time jobs, and quite the learning experience. The main thing that I have noticed is that people DO NOT understand the etiquette of the Virtual Experience.

Play with me a minute, close your eyes (Ok you can’t and also read the rest, but you understand) just remember the last LIVE event you attended. You got your seat, put out your notebooks and got excited to hear from some great speakers. Now imagine that during the presentation you hear someone say out loud to everybody, “Hi Judy, so glad to see you!” or “I have a program that will teach you how to write a book” or even better; “Hey everyone say hi, write down your email for me” All the while, you are trying to listen to the speaker and consistently, people are selling their products, commenting on the speaker, or just say Hi! How distracting and rude would that be?

In this virtual world, people seem to think it’s ok to continually “talk” in the chat throughout the programs. It’s as though everyone around you was having conversations which distracted you from the speakers’ message. So, I have put together a few rules of the virtual road:

  • If you want to connect with someone, do it privately, that way the intended person would be the only one to see it. If it is a webinar and you aren’t able to privately chat, get their name off their picture and connect offline on Facebook. Or if they are a friend, send them a text by phone.
  • If the Speaker Says something like “Can I get an Amen,” then you put Amen in the Chat.
  • If the Speaker asks “Show me your Word for the Year” then put your word in the chat.
  • If the Speakers asks for questions in the chat, by all means write down your questions.
  • Just because you are not LIVE and you are not speaking out loud, you are still annoying the other people in the event.

By the way,you know why people want to have you put your emails in the chat? It is so they can add them to their nurture campaign, and you will then receive all their wonderful emails. No one wants that. If the speaker offers a FREE download and wants you to put your contact info into the chat, then by all means do it if that is what you want. Send it privately if possible. Just because you have scruples doesn’t mean other people do.

Stop commenting on the speaker’s presentation during their talk. They are not reading these. When they are done, then share your thoughts in the chat and they will definitely check them out after they are finished. But make sure you do it privately if possible. If not, don’t do it during the next speakers’ presentation.

Virtual Networking Events are a bit different. Each host may have their own rules. Just ask what you can and cannot do. Remember like LIVE events, if you don’t behave in a way the “host” requires of their audience, you will not be invited back.

Simply think about it this way. If you are up on stage presenting to a group, what would you like your audience to be doing? Connecting with each other and having conversations or listening to your information. This is simply common sense, think before you “speak!”

You Need to Stop Giving It Away!

You Need to Stop Giving It Away!

A lot of entrepreneurs have a money mindset that keeps them from making what they are worth. I don’t want to talk services or products today, I want to talk about events. You need to stop trying to fill events for FREE!

How many times have you downloaded a Free Giveaway and not used it? Or, been invited to a meet up group and woke up a bit tired and decided to blow it off? If you had paid a significant amount of money for either, you may have thought twice about using the download or getting in the car and attending? I that is a YES!

So why are you trying to fill your events by giving it away. Your time, energy, venue, food, beverage, handouts, etc. cost money. Figure out your costs and add them into your ticket price. You can just cover your costs; or make a bit more on top. Did you know that Southern California has the highest “no show” rate in the country? Why? Because people in LA wake up and if there is an accident on the 405 or if it is raining; they don’t leave the house.

If they don’t have “skin in the game” they will find a reason NOT to attend. So make it worth their time and energy to show up. Figure out what that cost would be? $10 a ticket, $20 a ticket or $197 a ticket. You need to determine the right amount for your audience. How do you do that? Go to similar events in your area. What do they charge and what do they offer? Make your’s offer so juicy that your ideal clients won’t think twice about registering.

When they Don’t Pay, they Don’t Show! Don’t give them the choice.



VIP’s Need to Feel VIP!

You are all excited to attend your VIP day/weekend; you have paid a premium price to be there, purchased plane tickets, transportation costs and hotel accommodations. You went out a bought a few items of clothing so you could make THE best impression on your coach and the other attendees. With your new journal in hand you arrive early for the continental breakfast only to find plastic containers of mixed fruit and a cardboard box filled with Costco muffins. You pick up your flimsy paper plate and plastic fork and get some nourishment down and try to keep your expectations high. No coffee and only water greets you in the back of the room. Your VIP lunch experience consists of food delivered from a local restaurant and presented in aluminum containers with plastic spoons. You end up not feeling too VIP by the end of the day.

The content of your event is important, the venue is super important. Don’t ruin all your hard work by going cheap on the food. I have spent thousands of dollars attending VIP Days, Weekends and Masterminds only to be served pizza out of a stack of boxes or little to no food at all. The cost of the event should be represented by the location, food and total experience. If your guests stomachs are empty, they cannot focus on the message you are sharing.

There are ways to save money on your F&B without making it look like it:

  • If you must purchase the food and beverage from the venue work with them to find ways to keep the cost down, but not the quality. Have your guests do breakfast on their own and just offer a nicer luncheon menu. Or have breakfast and then lunch on their own.
  • Bring food in from an outside caterer or restaurant. This is the best option; your cost of the food will definitely be lower. The key here is presentation. When the food arrives, replace it into nice glass serving dishes and platters. Dress up the table, layer with table cloths, place items at different heights. Presentation can make an inexpensive meal look top drawer!
  • If you are using plastic plates and utensils, spend the extra money on the higher quality items.
  • Beverages: Individual drinks (sodas/water bottles, etc.) place them in containers filled with ice, don’t just put them on a counter in rows. Purchase cartons of ice tea and pour into glass containers. You can use beautiful pitchers or glass dispensers. Fill them up with water and add sliced lemon, cucumber or strawberries. Your guests will be impressed.
  • Don’t forget the guests with food issues. Make sure you have options for vegans and vegetarians; items that are gluten and dairy free. If you can find out prior to the event what those “special requirements” are, you can make sure those issues are handled. You don’t know mad until you have been confronted by a guest with food requirements that are not met! Don’t go there!

I always talk about the “experience” of the event, food can make or break that experience. Sit down and walk through your event from a guest perspective. If you make those small adjustments, you will be sure your VIP’s will not only feel special, but want to come back again and again. Getting a client to sign up for an event or coaching course is hard enough, don’t lose them over paper plates.

Here’s to a great year of great experiences.

If you would like to be a VIP in my community, sign up HERE

Pay-to-Play, Really I have to pay to speak on your stage?

Pay-to-Play, Really I have to pay to speak on your stage?

Why should I have to pay to be on someone’s stage?

I hear that all the time. If you are a speaker and you have said this more than once I ask you to please read this blog. I think I can answer help you understand why?

First I want you to think about the dinner party, birthday party, social gathering you recently planned. Got it in your head? If you haven’t planned a party for yourself, maybe your child. Got it now? What were the steps you went through?

  1. Set the date
  2. Set a Budget
  3. Decided on a venue (your home, or other location)
  4. If another location, secured and gave a deposit
  5. Made an invitation list
  6. Set a theme
  7. Sent the invitations out (Eventbrite, mail, email, phone calls, personal invitation)
  8. Planned the menu
  9. Planned the decorations
  10. Secured the entertainment
  11. Received RSVP s
  12. Cleaned the house or made the final payment on your venue
  13. Followed-up on those individuals who did not RSVP
  14. With number of guests in hand, made final menu and grocery list
  15. Shopped for food, plates, cups, utensils, drinks or hired a caterer
  16. Set up the event (in home or other): decorated; set-up food/drinks.
  17. Party Favors: purchased and put together
  18. Opened the doors for all your guests.
  19. Entertained
  20. Said goodbye, then cleaned everything up

Those are just 20 things off the top of my head. What I didn’t put on there is how many of your guests did not answer or RSVP? How many did and then canceled the week of the event, or that morning? How many still did not show? Now you have all the food, drink, party favors and more left over because you counted on them to show and they didn’t.

Now take those 20 things and multiply them by 10 and you have an event checklist. The host has to handle all that as well as put out a large amount of money for the location, food and beverage, name badges/lanyards, swag bags, goodies, staging, lighting, videographer, photographer, audio visual, insurance; get the picture.

When you have the opportunity to get in front of an audience of your ideal clients; put on a nice outfit; show up the morning of the event and network, get handed a microphone and then introduced to the stage and be brilliant; don’t you think that’s a great deal. You don’t have to organize the event, fill the event, pay for the event. You just get pretty and show up! I think paying to do that is a no-brainer.  I would do that all day long.

Now do you have something to sell from the stage or give away? Don’t ever walk off the stage without getting something from your audience. If they say you can’t sell from stage, offer a free give-away and grab up everyone’s emails (they are gold). If you are selling, make sure you know the audience and the speakers also selling from stage. If everyone is selling to the audience, you may want to give something away; they will be so happy they are not being sold to they will give you their emails. Then get them in your nurturing campaign. If everyone is selling large dollar items, maybe offer a lower priced entry item. Remember if you are on the stage 45 minutes or less, please don’t try to sell a product or service over $1000. People need to fall in love with you and feel you can change their world, business or help them overcome their challenge. That takes time. It’s better to get them into your world at a lower price point.  You can up sell them at a later date for a larger program.

Now if you have done the pay to play and know your conversion rate, then you can do the math. If you spend $1000 to speak onstage for 30 minutes; then convert 20% of the room, it is money well spent. Let’s do the math: 100 people, convert 20%, that’s 20 people. Your product is $499; you sell 20 people then receive $9980. Minus your cost to speak, your profit is $8980. Not a bad day’s work and you don’t have the stress of hosting the event!

Now don’t go into debt paying to be on stage; but if you have it in your budget, know your numbers, you could build an amazing business using other people’s stages.

Now I don’t want to hear you complain any longer!


Photo Credit:
Photo of: Craig Duswalt, RockStar Marketing Bootcamp
Photographer: Lori Zapata Photography

Do You Want to Be a Speaker & Grow Your Business On-Stage?

Do You Want to Be a Speaker & Grow Your Business On-Stage?

If so, there a so many things you need to know before you step on the stage. Here are just 3 of my Top 10 Tips:

  1. What type of Speaker are you:INSPIRING/MOTIVATING/ENTERTAINING/ INFORMATIONAL? You may think this is a simple question. “I’m an empowering speaker helping entrepreneurs have total work/life balance” (INSPIRATIONAL)  Well let me tell you there are a lot of those speakers out there. What makes YOU different from the rest? What are you going to impart to the audience. Will they have tools to use after they have heard from you (INFORMATIONAL)?  Are you there to make the audience have some fun (ENTERTAINING)? Know your niche and your messaging and make sure it is clear when you walk on-stage.
  2. Know what you can do on-stage! Are you just inspiring the audience, or are you able to “sell from stage.” NEVER sell from the stage if you have not approved it with the host and/or event planner. Make sure it is in writing! There is a very fine line between sharing and selling. If you are allowed to sell from the stage, please make sure you are not “selling” the entire time you are up there. The audience wants tangible information, make sure you give, give and give some more. They need to fall in love with you in order to buy into what you are selling. Think about the speakers you liked. What did they do to keep you engaged? Did they sell? What did that look like? Who didn’t you like and why? If you can’t sell from the stage, can you give a “free gift” in order to collect emails? Remember: everything needs to be in writing so everyone is clear on what is expected.
  3. Get Moving:Whenever Chris Rock performed as a young comedian, he would stand stock still in front of the microphone. After the veteran Eddie Murphy caught Rock’s act one night, Murphy gave Rock some solid advice. To keep the audience’s attention, Murphy said, get moving. Rock has been stalking the stage ever since. Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins, who report this anecdote in their book Own The Room: Discover Your Signature Voice To Master Your Leadership Presence, write: “Movement arouses the central nervous system. Our eyes follow movement. [When you move on stage] the audience can’t help but watch. Conversely, when you stop, the sudden absence of movement is compelling and creates emphasis.” Your body movements need to match your messaging and enhance the “story you are telling.”

EXTRA TIP: Stop speaking on stages where the audience is NOT your Avatar. It is a waste of your time and the audience will wonder why you are speaking to them.

Want to learn more about speaking on stages, join us August 16th in Thousand Oaks for my Summer School for Speakers. It’s going to be a real learning experience you won’t want to miss.

How’s that New Years Resolution to “Speak on Stages” working for you?

How’s that New Years Resolution to “Speak on Stages” working for you?

I don’t know too many entrepreneurs who do not put on their resolution list to “Speak on More Stages.” Was it on yours? Are you speaking on stages? Are they the right stages?

In the past 4 months I have worked a lot of events and witnessed first hand the right and the wrong way to speak on stages. I have also been approached by speakers wanting to get on my stages in all the wrong ways. In addition I have searched for seasoned speakers for several large conferences only to find no appropriate information. There are things you MUST have in place before you can truly embark on a profitable and successful speaking journey.

Here are my top 5 things YOU NEED to know or have in place:

  1. Updated Headshot: Please look like your photo! It’s not that you have to be beautiful, not even an issue, but if your picture is from 20 years ago, your brown hair is now grey or bleached blond and you are 50 pounds heavier; you need a new headshot. The production company will be promoting your participation and if the guests walk in and see a different person on the stage; it will make the event company look dishonest. I know we all looked better in our 20’s and 30’s but I am not the same person I was then as I am now. You only have your integrity and if you are lying to them by using an old picture; you lose the trust factor.
  2. Speaker One-Sheet: This does not have to be professionally produced, you can do it yourself or go to fiverr and pay a slight fee to have it done. Make it as easy on the production team as possible and list 3 Top Topics you can speak about along with a quick 2-3 sentence description. Put logos of the companies you have spoken to and add a few testimonials from people who have either hired you to speak or heard you speak. Your picture and a short bio should also be included. Links to your website, your contact information, etc. should be there as well. MAKE IT EASY ON US PEOPLE.
  3. Video: If you want to speak on my stage, I better see you speak on other stages. Not everyone is a good speaker (we know who those individuals are). A 20 minute speech can sometimes feel like an hour when the speaker is not engaging. If you can’t walk, talk and entertain; bottom line,  I don’t want you in front of my audience. So if I can see you speak to a group (no matter the size) and get a sense of your personality, knowledge base and stage presence; that is a win!  If we live in the same area, invite me to one of your presentations to hear you live. Always put your video links in your speaker packages and emails so all the production team has to do is click and see your brilliance immediately.
  4. Know the Rules: Nothing makes an event host and the production team madder than people who don’t play by the rules. If you have 20 minutes you better be done in 20 minutes. Watch the timer, practice your speech and know the timing.  If you were told you could not sell from stage, DON’T SELL FROM STAGE, or the back of the room. If you have a table at an event; it is expected that you will be selling something; but don’t think it’s a given for you to offer from the stage if it was not agreed to in advance. Just ask the question “What am I allowed to do from stage?” They will tell you exactly what you can and cannot do. If you go against the rules, I can assure you, you will not be asked back. Remember an Event Producer/Coordinator/Planner, whatever you call us, have more than one client. Mess up with one client and who knows how many stages you just lost the opportunity to speak on.
  5. Show Up Right! Make it easy on the host and show up confident, positive and professional. I don’t care if your dog ran away, your kids are having a bad day, you had a fight with your spouse, or you drank too much last night. It’s not about you, it’s about the audience. Whatever you have to do to get in the right head-space you need to do it. You have either been paid to speak, or paid a pretty penny to speak, or you are being given an opportunity to grow your business for free. Whatever the circumstances, you show up with your “A Game.” Dress professionally, you are not only representing your own business, but you are representing the production company as well. This is not a high school book report and you just rolled out of bed. Think about the event and the environment and dress the part. If this is a retreat you will not be wearing a 3-piece suit; but if its a corporate event, you better be wearing a suit/dress or business attire. Show up early; be a part of the event, network with the guests.  Don’t isolate on a table for speakers and only interact with other speakers. Be approachable. The best speakers I have seen come to the entire event and mingle with the audience so they get to know them before they get on stage. When they offer their “sale” the audience already knows them. Stay after you speak to answer questions and close more sales. Don’t think you are a celebrity and once you are on the stage you have to get in your limo and leave. Be generous, kind and authentic.

There is so much more that I would love to share with you in this blog and so many people I would love for you to learn from. That is why I am offering a 1-Day Workshop titled Summer School for Speakers. If you are serious about having a speaking career you need to be in this room. I have brought together experts in this field who will share the ins and outs of speaking on stage; how show up confident and professional; how to share “Your Story” to engage the audience and finally, how to dress  and present yourself in the best possible way. Find out more information at Summer School for Speakers . 

Let’s make those New Years Resolutions a Reality!