Wednesday, December 11, 2013

6 great gifts to encourage your favorite speaker

As a speaker coach and trainer, I can tell you from experience: Speakers and presenters need encouragement and thank-yous all year 'round, not just at the holidays. These gifts work as thank-yous for your invited speaker as well as for holiday gifts that say "You're doing great--keep going!" You might give them after she's completed a fantastic TEDx or Ignite! talk, or when the team presentation gets the new client. But whatever you do, encourage those speakers:
  1. Advance her confidence as well as her slides: Remotes always go missing at venues, so the smart speaker carries her own. Give her a combination remote-control and pointer, like this Logitech Professional Presenter R800. It's lightweight, small, easy to take with you and insurance against the missing remote problem. You can even set a buzzing timer to tell her she has five minutes left. Bonus: She'll think of you every time she presents.
  2. Give her online tools for speaker prep: Pen and pencil set? So last century. Why not a gift certificate that lets her upgrade a free Prezi account to one of the paid versions for more functionality in zooming slide presentations...a SlideShare Pro account so she can get better metrics on her posted presentations...or a premium account in Evernote, where she can save quotes, background material and notes as well as write speeches or record them, and save video of how she did?
  3. That traveling speaker will appreciate a Optoma Pico Pocket Projector, which connects with many devices and projects a large image, compared to its small portable size.
  4. Help your speaker practice and promote her talks with a Sony Bloggie Touch, the same ultralight camcorder I use in group training workshops for speakers. She can plug it into a laptop to watch her practice sessions, project the video, and later, when the final result is recorded, share it to social media sites and via email. Or give her a more complete kit for video practice with the Zoom Q2-HD Handy Video Recorder with Accessory Pack, 16G SD Card, Pava Speaker Bag, Batteries and Cable
  5. Every ambitious speaker needs role models, so aim for the best. Your speaker can be inspired by The Roar of the Lion: The Untold Story of Churchill's World War II Speeches, which examines his speaking mistakes, preparation, and how audiences reacted for a thoroughgoing look at this great speaker. Barbara Jordan: Speaking the Truth with Eloquent Thunder captures the voice of one of America's greatest orators and a black woman who broke down speaking barriers. In its 50th anniversary year, The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream offers a new look at this famous speech.
  6. Give your speaker a practice advantage with a portable presentation lectern. It can sharpen up delivery and help her learn how to work with a lectern, rather than just lean on it. You'd be surprised at the difference this makes, particularly for a speaker working from a text, and it costs about the same as a remote.
  7. Provide a real training experience. Buy a gift certificate from a speaker coach good for one evaluation of a video of your speaker in action, or an hour of advice, or a slot in a workshop to advance your speaker's skills. Buy a membership in Toastmasters, or the services of a speechwriter for a special effort coming up in 2014. Training's the gift that really keeps on giving, and signals your faith in this speaker's future. What better way to ring in the new year?
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