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Posts by Karen Harris

How to Hire an Exceptional Leadership Keynote Speaker

By Karen Harris | Oct 08, 2019 | Comments Off

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There are a lot of leadership keynote speakers out there in our industry. Some good, some better, and some exceptional. As someone who’s been around this “block” a long time and keeps a keen eye on the talent both experienced, and emerging, I’m asked often what I believe to be the differentiators. 

What Makes An Exceptional Leadership Keynote Speaker?

Constant reinvention. 

The top leadership keynote speakers in the business aren’t trading on topics from 20 years ago. They recognize that our world is changing at a lightning pace, and the truth is that it always has. Because of that, they are constantly reimagining their message to meet the needs of shifting markets, mindsets, tools, and technology and helping clients and audiences make those changes in their own lives and businesses. I love Dan Thurmon’s take on this with his keynote, Off Balance on Purpose.  He challenges audiences to lean into change rather than run from it -- and shows them what a game-changer that can be.

They say no to the status quo. 

Whatever position you hold and wherever you are in your life, there are six little words that are almost a guarantee to keep you stuck in the past and shut down forward momentum in a heartbeat. They are, “the way things have always been.” Exceptional leaders are just fine with getting a little (or a lot) uncomfortable. They look at status quo as a limited belief system and send it well on its way. Leadership speaker like Mike Rayburn is extraordinary at conveying this message to audiences. His “What If” keynote asks participants to see opportunities where they once only saw obstacles and to turn the tables on “impossibilities”. Questions like, “What if I could accomplish that big goal -- how would I?” That’s the kind of anti-status quo thinking that creates real change. 

They are future-minded.

We live in a time when technology is outdated practically the moment it’s released, if not before. That’s why bringing in forward-thinking, future-paced keynote speakers who bring the insights and strategies audiences need to anticipate future trends and stay ahead of the curve is so vital for many organizations. We love keynote speaker and futurist Mike Walsh’s amazing ability to take what can feel like overwhelming and difficult topics such as Artificial Intelligence and swiftly shifting algorithms and have them not only make sense for audiences, but generate an excitement about what the future lies as well. 

They are focused on creating an experience. 

Anyone can get up and deliver a “talk” or a “speech”. The keynote speakers and leadership experts who get invited back year after year are the ones who take that up a notch (or a hundred notches) to create an experience for audiences. The kind who  make people laugh, think, reimagine, believe, and adopt new ideas and innovation that they know can make a difference in their lives. 

I think of the way Vinh Giang infuses keynotes with magic, illusion, and an ability to help people see things in entirely different ways. 

Or how Clint Pulver creates a next level experience with an electrifying drum solo. 

Those are just two examples of exceptional leadership speakers that are extra-mile performers who don’t believe in delivering “good-enough”. They go above and beyond to deliver entertaining keynotes. The kind who spend infinite hours of practice, patience, content-building, and performance nuances before a presentation that lasts less than an hour. Because it’s that important to get it right for every audience. Those are the folks that we applaud here daily.  And the kind of leadership keynote speakers we are crazy proud to represent. 

I invite you to learn more about the exceptional leadership speakers here at cmi speaker management. Watch their videos. Read their bios. See what difference makers they are. 

And when you’re ready to learn more about how to hire an exceptional leadership speaker, please give us a call. We’ve got some experience with that!

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

By Karen Harris | Aug 27, 2019 | Comments Off

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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! 

 

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!

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!

Do You People Watch?

By Karen Harris | Jun 12, 2019 | Comments Off

 

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(Soooo many adventures in the last six months!!)

 

I do. I find it rejuvenating.

I was traveling the last 2 days and experienced what a lot of our clients do on a daily basis…travel delays. My outgoing flight was delayed by 4 hours getting me to the hotel around 9pm. On Monday, I was going full tilt from 6am to 6pm (this type of a day is not unusual for most of us).

When I got to the airport for my return flight, I was brain dead. I had work to do but I couldn’t think. So I just sat there - and I began to watch the people around me. 

I saw a 20-something daughter traveling with her parents. She was on her phone a bit but most of the time she was fully engaged in conversation with her family. I saw a woman in a wheelchair who was traveling with a friend - they were so helpful to each other as they maneuvered her from one gate to another. I saw a man whose arms and legs were extremely short who was laying on a skateboard and just motoring to his gate. No one took special notice of him - he was just like all the rest of the travellers. I saw 2 little girls who were so happy to be able to move after their flight - they were giggling and running as their mothers were chasing after them. There was a young man sitting behind me who was watching videos and every once in awhile he’d quietly chuckle. 

Who says we aren’t kind to each other? Or thoughtful? Or loving? Or happy? These things are all around us if we just look for them.

We are fascinating to watch - I highly recommend it.

Rocketmen, Collaboration, and Legendary Leadership

By Karen Harris | Jun 05, 2019 | Comments Off

If you haven’t seen the new biopic Rocketman that chronicles the life, love, and musicianship of Sir Elton John, it’s proving itself to be one heck of a box office hit. Powerful cinematography, extraordinary music, and packed with jaw-dropping performances.

In a recent keynote, one of cmi speaker management’s incredibly talented speakers, Jason Hewlett delivered an inspired message about the power of collaboration by spotlighting the historic duo of Reginald Dwight (who would later become Elton John) and his decades-long lyricist and business partner Bernie Taupin.

Jason shares the value of turning to the people around you, your colleagues and coworkers, and even what he refers to as “lost members” (those who are no longer associated with you) to help clearly and accurately define what your signature moves are in business.

Collaboration didn’t happen organically for the two rock legends. In a May Time Magazine article, Taupin shares his review of the new movie, and Time’s columnist Andrew Chow sheds light on what was then an unlikely match between singer and songwriter.

“In 1967, they both answered the same advertisement from Liberty Records seeking songwriters. John couldn’t write lyrics; Taupin couldn’t write melodies. But when John was handed an envelope of Taupin’s poems, he was moved by their lyricism and began cutting demos to them.”

“When we started it out it was really just me and him,” Taupin said. “It was very much a sort of stream-of-consciousness,” Taupin said of his own lyrical style. “I would write whatever I felt, and he would jerry-rig it into a song.”

Thank goodness fate brought that illustrious pair together. The world is a better place for the collaboration they shared and the music they’ve made.

Around here, we’re big on collaboration as well. Our amazing team of professionals connect and create together on a daily basis to make what some days feels like magic happen for our talented team of keynote speakers.

Jason Hewlett, we love your extraordinary showmanship, and the way you help audiences all over the globe discover what it means to become a Legendary Leader. As you so profoundly share, leadership is about promises made and promises kept. Keep it up. The world needs more of that!

It’s Time for More Women To Take Center Stage

By Karen Harris | May 08, 2019 | Comments Off

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The extraordinary success of Brene Brown’s new Netflix special speaks volumes - the world is ready, willing, and eager for strong female voices. Her take on vulnerability, shame, imperfection, and the very real need for courageous conversations strikes a chord, not just with women, but people from every diversity out there.

After watching Brene’s special and reading a powerful piece from Forbes about the underrepresentation of women in the speaking circuit – specifically in the area of technology, I was moved to action. Especially when I read, “Respondents made it clear that the presence and visibility of other women at tech conferences made them more likely to attend. Three-quarters of the women surveyed said they were more likely to attend a conference session, panel, or keynote event featuring a female presenter or panelist. Additionally, 94% indicated that it is important to have female representation in keynote speaker lineups (with 38% marking it “very important”). Classon pointed out that this visibility is key: We all want more girls in STEM and more women in tech. What message does it send when they don’t see themselves represented on the keynote stages at tech conferences? You can’t be what you can’t see.”

That last line really brought the idea home for myself and my team. We are an organization filled with empowered, strong, smart women. While we’ve had the incredible pleasure of working with and knowing some amazing female speakers over the years, we don’t currently have one on our roster of keynote speakers.

That’s about to change. We are so fortunate to have wonderful connections all over the world. Bringing speakers and clients together to generate powerful audience experiences is what we do best. We are actively seeking innovative female keynote speakers to lend her voice, experience, and expertise to our lineup of keynote professionals.

We know it’s the right time, and we look forward to finding the exact right speaker to bring messages of technology, excellence, overcoming adversity, diversity, and change – all topics that the world needs to hear.

If you know of a speaker who you feel would be a good fit for our family of keynote speakers, please contact us today. We are excited about expanding our roster of keynote speaking professionals and to further round out our diverse and expansive topic offerings. My team and I look forward to it!

Podcasts, People, and Pathways to Learning

By Karen Harris | Apr 26, 2019 | Comments Off

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I’m a huge fan of continuous learning and a voracious reader and information gatherer. It sure helps when you’re working with clients and speakers from around the world! It’s funny how communication and learning has changed so much through the years though isn’t it? Long before the internet, social media, and the perpetual news cycle? As professionals, especially, much of the information we consume these days is “on the fly” – as busy lives and full calendars shrink our downtime.

That’s one reason podcasts are so popular. According to a new CBS News poll, two-thirds of Americans listen to podcasts at least once in a while, including 23% who do so a few times a week. That’s up from the year before where a majority said they never listen to podcasts. Why the popularity jump?

According to Carrie Ryan, Co-Author of Serial Box's Dead Air, “It’s information and entertainment, in bite-size chunks, right at our fingertips. While many of us might not take the time to sit down and read a 20k word length article, we can listen to that article in bite sized chunks during our commute to work, especially if it’s presented in an entertaining, narrative way.”

I totally agree and I wanted to share podcasts that are blazing new trails by two of our amazing keynote speakers, Mike Walsh and Ty Bennett.

Mike’s podcast takes listeners on amazing exploration of our world and the compelling technology changes that are shifting the way we work, live, communicate, and relate. You’ll find insightful topics such as The Unexpected Economics of the Data-Driven Future, Ethical AI and the Digitally Transformed Insurance Company and visionary ideas such as Future Life in 2030. Learn more here.

Ty’s extraordinary guests captivate, educate, and deliver expertly powerful insights. He moderates discussions such as The First Woman to Ski Across Antarctica Solo with world-renowned explorer Felicity Aston, Exploring Limitless with author Laura Gassner Otting, and even life-affirming dialogues such as Our Journey with Stage 4 Cancer with Dan & Charity Lighten. I believe you’ll find each episode moving, informative, and transformative. Learn more here.

If you love learning as much as I do, I hope you’ll add these two wonderful podcasts to your listening portfolios. You won’t be disappointed!

Accountability, Action, and Aftermath: Leadership Lessons from Jacinda Ardern

By Karen Harris | Apr 12, 2019 | Comments Off

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Sadly, the news of mass killings rocks our news waves again and again in today’s world. One is too many, right? The aftermath of the recent tragedy in New Zealand is heartbreaking and solemn. We should do better, we think. We can do better. Where does that start?

Recently, Keynote Speaker and good friend Sam Silverstein shared his powerful thoughts on the extraordinary example of accountability leadership displayed by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a moving article. He perfectly sums up how and why her profound response to tragedy in her country makes her a leader of exceptional grace, empathy, and vision.

It is that leadership and vision that led her country to take swift and definitive action in the wake of tragedy. As reported in Vox, “After just one mass shooting, New Zealand’s Parliament on Wednesday voted 119-1 to ban most semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles in the country.” Her statement, “New Zealand stands apart in its widespread availability of weapons of such destructive nature and force. Today that anomaly ends.”

Ardern received praise from all around the globe for her strength and passionate response and quick action to the shooting.

Action in the wake of tragedy. Action in the presence of her grieving citizens. Action in response to senseless tragedy. Action with compassion. That’s the kind of leadership the world needs a whole lot more of.

Thank you, Sam, for your brilliant spotlight on the Prime Minister’s incredible accountability leadership. May we all learn from her steadfast examples.

Sam Silverstein: delivers leadership strategies, mindsets, and tools to organizations around the globe – helping them to leverage change, communicate more purposefully, and lead with accountability.

IASB & cmi: A Perfect Partnership

By Karen Harris | Mar 27, 2019 | Comments Off

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We’re so excited about the IASB (International Association of Speakers Bureaus) 2019 Convention coming up on April 4th in Vancouver. “This premiere event of the year is the largest gathering of speaker bureau, agency and speaker management professionals in the world.  The annual convention provides members with unparalleled opportunities to learn, engage and build relationships.”

We have so much respect for the bureaus we work with, and truly look at them as significant partners who help our extraordinary team of talented keynote speakers to deliver empowering and significant messages all across the globe.

I was recently asked what made us a good fit for IASB members. My answer lies in three words that are at the heart of who we are at cmi speaker management:  Caring, Responsive, and Transparent.

First, caring. We treat people with compassion, great care, and appreciation. To me, that’s a golden rule that is vital in any industry, and definitely in ours. I’m so fortunate to have an extraordinary seven-member team in place that are just as passionate about service as I am.

Second, responsiveness. Our clients tell us that we have some of the fastest response times in the business. Often, we answer back within mere minutes of an inquiry coming in. That works for everyone involved. No one likes to be left waiting for an answer, and in our day of information inundation – quick response is a must so that nothing gets lost in the abyss!

Third, transparency. We are an open book – and for good reason. We know that truth builds trust, and trust is the foundation for effective relationships. That’s why we are always forthcoming in terms of our negotiations, availability, fees – all of it. This quality has earned us high marks from bureaus all over the world. It takes the stress out of working with people when you know their integrity is always above board!  

I look forward to seeing colleagues at the April event. I know it will be filled and fuelled with lots of laughter, learning, and leveraging new and interesting strategies! Until then – here’s to amazing partnerships!

If there is ever anything we can do for you – please don’t hesitate to contact our team. We’re here for you!