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CMI Blog

the latest from cmi speaker managment

Why communication skills are important - Keynote Speaker Vinh Giang

By Vinh Giang | Aug 30, 2019 | Comments Off

Why are communication skills so important? Why is it so important for leaders to train their “leader's instrument”?

I was super fortunate to be able to speak at the CFO summit for LinkedIn. It was really cool speaking for LinkedIn, because it's one of the platforms that I use to produce a lot of content. LinkedIn has definitely helped me create the lifestyle and speaking career that I have now. I spoke to the leaders there on a very specific topic: why it's important that leaders learn how to master effective communication skills.

Here is what I told them…

There are three reasons why communication is so important and how to improve your communication skills.

The first reason why strong communication skills are so important is: you’re only as good as you can communicate.

As you improve your ability to communicate, you reveal potential to others and you're able to amplify the best parts of who you are.

When we communicate our ideas or our vision, and people don't buy into that idea or that vision, the reason isn’t because it was bad. It’s because our ability to communicate that idea or vision is bad.

When you improve your communication skills, it allows you to amplify the best parts of who you are. That's what makes you a successful communicator.

The second reason is, as a teacher, when I run my workshops, I tell my students the following:

“I see all of you in the audience as an island, you're one person on their own island, every single one of you. It's quite tragic and lonely, I know. Depending on how well I can communicate, I build a bridge to you. If I communicate poorly, then my bridge is small and tiny, and the amount of value that I can transport is minimal. Whereas if my ability to communicate is strong and powerful, I can build a very big strong bridge and the amount of value I can deliver across that bridge to you is enhanced.”

When we think about collaborations, the stronger the bridge, the more value I can transport across when we collaborate. Therefore, collaboration is enhanced when communication skills improve.

And the final reason is that as leaders, you often need to get others to do the work you need them to do. This is the key instrument we use to connect with others.

When others connect with our vision, when they connect with our message; they give you their own. Yet this instrument we've never been taught how to use.

Until now!

When you book me for a keynote, you have the opportunity to also book my breakout session - Creating Communication Magic. Here is where I teach your audience the skills to use their greatest instrument - their voice.

Authority on Sales & Leadership: Keynote Speaker Phil M Jones

By Phil M Jones | Aug 28, 2019 | Comments Off

cmi is thrilled to represent Keynote Speaker Phil M Jones - 5x bestselling author of Exactly What to Say, expert in leadership and sales and an international keynote speaker. Phil's philosophy is that every person in every business has something to sell. Helping people to truly understand how they can positively impact on the decision making process, drive results AND maintain integrity empowers people to really achieve.

Learn more about Phil M Jones here!

Hire the Best Speaker and how much to spend on Keynote Speaker fees

By Karen Harris | Aug 27, 2019 | Comments Off


For almost twenty years, my team has been connecting some of the highest quality keynote speakers in the industry with amazing clients all around the globe. We’ve learned a lot along the way in terms of what works and what doesn’t. What helps companies create lasting impact, and what they’ve shared with us that has left events falling flat. All that information gathering has helped us to create what we know to be the magic formulas for ensuring audiences are always left feeling more empowered, inspired, and with the take-aways that they know will make a difference in their lives and careers. 

Part of what we do here is to act as a guide for clients during the event planning process. We use our knowledge, experience, and expertise to help them answer the following questions about our keynote speaker's fees.

Hire The Best Keynote Speaker: Ask These 3 Questions

1. Is He/She he right speaker for our event? 

We start with the basics such as what they hope to accomplish for their participants, what they want their attendees to walk away with, and what the actual demographics of the audience looks like. From there, we can help determine what speaker best fits by matching personality, skills, delivery style, and topics to that audience and company. 

2. How much should we spend on a speaker? 

That depends, again, on what a company wants to accomplish. If they are looking for “just a speech” on a certain topic – they can perhaps choose from the lower end of the fee spectrum. What we’ve found is that our clients are driven to ensure their audiences have not only an inspired message, but an experience as well. Some want sheer entertainment, others want strategy, solutions, and real-world application. Most want a combination. That requires a keynote speaker with a higher level of skill, experience, presentation consistency, and mastery of their craft. With that comes a higher keynote speaker fee structure. We’ve represented speakers at many different fee levels – all vetted to have the kind of skill, experience, and mastery that our clients require. 

3. How do we know the speaker we choose is authentic? 

Good question! Every keynote speaker that we represent has been fully vetted by our team in every way. That means we’ve done the homework, so our clients don’t have to.  Our keynote speakers have a strong, credentialed social and online presence (social proof), a solid business foundation, a reputation for excellence and positive reviews from past clients. They have achieved a specific level of experience in terms of number of keynotes they have delivered. 

We’re not the “biggest shop on the block” – nor do we wish to be. Ours is a boutique agency with a highly select – and carefully selected – group of speakers. While we are growing, we will always stay at a level where we can deliver, with great confidence, the kind of specialized care, consultation, and connection that our clients and speakers have come to expect and rely on. We are passionate about what we do – and committed to helping our keynote speakers continue to bring their messages of innovation, collaboration, leadership, sales/communication mastery, change, hope, endurance, enlightenment and persistence to audiences everywhere. The world is a better place because of them, and we’re thrilled to take part in that! 

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Want to learn more about hiring the right keynote speaker for your next event?  Have questions regarding keynote speaker fees? Contact my team today. We’re happy to walk you through the process with an experienced and educated consultation, and a big dose of kindness. We look forward to hearing from you!

Taking Keynotes to a Whole New Dimension - Holograms and Mike Rayburn

By Karen Harris | Aug 22, 2019 | Comments Off

hologram-rayburn pic-NSAWOW. That was the reaction in Denver recently at the National Speakers Association annual Influence conference when keynote speakers Mike Rayburn and Daniel Burrus took the stage to present to 1,000+ professional speaking colleagues from all over the globe both as their present selves – and as their “future holographic selves”. 

With the technical wizardry from the folks at ARHT Media Inc., Mike and Dan were seen via high-quality hologram through the company’s patented Holographic Telepresence technology. As this technology literally begins to mainstage all over the globe, keynote speakers are able bring their messages to audiences in new and exciting ways – without even getting on a plane. 

In a recent article by SmartMeetings.com they shared how big brands are leveraging holograms of speakers to create an added interactive dimension that can help increase engagement by 20% over past years. Another article shared how Microsoft recently took things a step further and not only had a keynote speaker present via hologram – but actually translated her message into another language. 

Mike Rayburn brings an amazing Holographic Experience to NSA Influence 2019

For our team, watching Mike expertly communicate both virtually and in person was just inspiring. He is known for creating empowering “What If” experiences for his audiences. As he says, “Every major invention, accomplishment, and victory in human history began with the simple, almost childlike curiosity of a “What If…?” question.”  In this case, answering the question, “What if you could present on a stage without physically being on the stage?” 

Mike Rayburn challenges audiences to take what some deem impossible and ask themselves – “What if you could – how would you?” The answers they discover in the wake of his presentations are both eye-opening, and door opening. Possibilities abound when leaders invite ground-breaking speakers and evolving tools and technology to test status quo and invite reinvention and imagination to help take their teams to new and exciting levels. 

Mike, our hats are off to you! 

We love to help our keynote speakers stay on the cutting edge by utilizing new tools, technology, and strategies to most effectively bring audiences what they need to grow their businesses, shift their mindsets, and come away from every event feeling inspired, motivated, and armed with the how-to’s that will set them apart. 

Want to learn more about how to bring technology and keynotes together for your next audience? Give us a call! We’re happy to share!


Take the brakes off, become a virtuoso!

By Mike Rayburn | Aug 21, 2019 | Comments Off

Keynote Speaker Mike Rayburn teaches your audiences how to become a virtuoso and make the choice for excellence in every area of their life. Rayburn speaks on a wide variety of topics such as Leadership, Technology, Sales and Marketing, Business Growth, Engagement, Performance and Change. Learn more about Mike Rayburn and is fantastic keynotes.



Learn more about Mike Rayburn

Netflix's Algorithmic Leadership

By Mike Walsh | Aug 20, 2019 | Comments Off


As a futurist, I’m often asked what it takes to takes for a large, traditional organization to embrace AI or make digital transformation work. Algorithmic-leader

If only the challenge was just technology! Disruptive technology changes the hardware of your business; to truly become a successful 21st organization you first have to accept that culture is your operating system.

Take Netflix as an example. I have often wondered how an old-school media mogul like Rupert Murdoch, John Malone, or Ted Turner might have run that business. What made the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, so effective? How was he able to achieve such rapid global growth at Netflix while navigating difficult transitions, such as when the company switched from sending physical DVDs in the mail to embracing broadband streaming? Is Netflix successful because it runs on algorithms, or because it is run by algorithmic leaders?


I had an interesting insight into that question when I met Andy Harries, the CEO and co-founder of Left Bank Pictures. Harries is one of the world’s top drama creators, including Cold Feet, Prime Suspect, Wallander, Outlander, and The Queen, which saw Helen Mirren win, among other awards, an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.

Hear my take on it in this video below.



The Algorithmic Leader Behind Netflix’s Insights

Harries wanted to pitch a TV show about the British royal family, based on themes explored in The Queen. He met with all the major US TV networks, who liked the idea but, after lots of consideration and debate, couldn’t commit to moving forward. Finally, Harries decided to meet with Reed Hastings and Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos.

It was the strangest meeting, Harries explained, as he handed me a cup of a coffee at his office in London. As soon as he walked into the conference room with Hastings and Sarandos, and before he had a chance to pitch the show, they told him that they were ready to move ahead. And not just with a pilot, but with a full season.

Unlike the other networks, the team at Netflix had already analyzed their audience data and had used algorithms to predict the show’s likely performance. They knew their audience and precisely the kinds of shows that would work. Furthermore, with an upcoming launch in the UK market, they believed that the proposed show would be a hit. And they were right. The Crown’s third season is now in production, and it has twice been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.

Algorithmic leaders reveal themselves in the way they make decisions and solve problems. How Reed Hastings and his team think about content, its relationship to their audience and their platform, and even how it should be presented and released is radically different from the way traditional leaders in media companies act and behave.

When you are capable of knowing precisely what any of your millions of global customers are doing or desiring at any point in time, how can you not see the world differently? How can you not seek to leverage machine learning, algorithms, and automation to fulfill those needs in a highly personalized way?

How Algorithmic Leaders Are Made

Of course, leaders like Hastings didn’t always have that kind of perspective. Most of us who are currently in leadership positions started out as analogue leaders. We need to make a conscious decision to adapt and evolve and to recognize that the availability of data and algorithms should change our viewpoint.

Being an algorithmic leader means more than just being able to share a few rehearsed anecdotes about artificial intelligence and big data. It means learning to tamp down your own ego, willingly tearing down the corporate structures that support your status, letting go of the idea that you need to make all the decisions, letting your teams self-organize and self-manage, not worrying about being seen to be right all the time, being open to more open forms of partnerships and work arrangements, and embracing a new, uncertain future.

Mike Walsh is the author of ‘The Algorithmic Leader: How to Be Smart When Machines Are Smarter Than You’,from which this article is excerpted. Walsh is the CEO of Tomorrow, a global consultancy on designing companies for the 21st century.



How Netflix makes smart decisions

By Mike Walsh | Aug 13, 2019 | Comments Off



Learn more about Mike Walsh

Taking the Message Home

By Karen Harris | Aug 12, 2019 | Comments Off


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How do some organizations take a 90-minute keynote from an annual event and turn it into an opportunity for teams to continue an elevated conversation and leverage what they’ve learned long after they’ve left the venue? The answer is easy! Send them home with something tangible!

In recent years we are seeing more and more companies expand on their annual or semi-annual events by either sending a keynote speaker’s book home with every audience member, or scheduling an in-depth, post-event training opportunity so that their team members can then do a deep-dive into the lessons learned from the stage. 

What they’ve found? Higher retention. Stronger results. More collaboration. And an adoption of strategies and tools that dramatically increase productivity, profitability, and team retention – all at a very low cost per person. 

With a book – like Mike Walsh’s new book, The Algorithmic Leader: How to Be Smart When Machines Are Smarter Than You or Dan Thurmon’s book, Off Balance on Purpose: Embrace Uncertainty and Create a Life You Loveevent participants find they have a reference guide where they can take on learning at a new level, dog-ear their favorite passages, and use it as a springboard for round-table discussions during productivity meetings. 

With a post event course or offering such as Mike Rayburn’s What If Challengeor Vinh Giang’s Creating Communication MAGIC workshopteam members fuel what they’ve learned already with a chance to interactively learn at a higher level with more connectivity, participation, and adoption of strategies because of the more one-on-one engagement. 

We love events and conferences for the grand scale they often provide. A chance to network and connect outside of the work environment. To listen to amazing speakers and get drawn into themes that set the tone for tremendous change and personal and professional growth. To be part of an experience bigger than everyday business. It’s exciting and fun, and yes – sometimes exhausting. 

Most keynotes speakers share with their audiences to just take what they can from their time together. Find a tidbit, a tool, a strategy, or a solution that they can take back after the event is over. Trying to retain it all is tough – almost impossible – despite rapid note-taking! 

That’s why I love this strategy of layering the learning and taking the message home for audiences. It’s clever, powerful, and a small investment that turns into incredible returns for organizations. 

Want to learn more? Call my team. We’re happy to help!

Mike Rayburn: Become A Virtuoso - Elite Performance Mastery

By Mike Rayburn | Aug 07, 2019 | Comments Off

Learn more about Mike Rayburn