Guide To Delivering High Quality Virtual Keynotes And Webinars

Promotivate Speakers Agency Green Screen backdrop

How To Set Up The Perfect Virtual Keynote

We run virtual keynote delivery and webinars for companies with relative ease at these times. We’d like to share some of our good practices with our audience of speakers for whom this is relevant.

We also wish to inform clients who maybe unaware of the simplicity of how easy it is to set up virtual talks. They are significantly lower in cost to host than traditional conference stage based sessions which involve time away and travel costs. With access to good speakers we are finding ways to bring strong positive communications to clients and their partners, improving positivity at a time when all of us are being asked to keep social distance.

Why?

Companies everywhere are scrambling to find virtual speaking solutions to communicate messages of positivity to employees working remotely. They are also a great method for showing employer empathy and delivering upskilling. Last but not least, these sessions can provide a welcome break from the monotony of long periods of isolation and reconnect people.

But…

Companies don’t need speakers to focus on the negative content regarding Coronavirus. These messages are dominating our news networks, so the focus of the session should be steered away from CV-19 and 99 per cent directed on providing the solution.

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How Many People Can Attend A Virtual Keynote Or Webinar?

From 2 to 10,000 attendees online, virtual keynotes are easily set up using the right platform, that supports the size of the audience. Here’s an article we published about the video conferencing platforms and costs here.

How?

In order to demonstrate how a well-composed virtual keynote delivery should run, we’re going to use a real conference that we delivered with 100% success this week in May. You’ll see video links within this post that show the outcome by recording our screen.

‘Success’ for a virtual keynote delivery is when all of the online audience watches and interacts without any service interruptions, and sound and picture quality for the duration of the virtual event are perfect.

In our case, none of our global pharmaceutical companies audience of 400 employees, based worldwide had any connectivity issues whatsoever.

The moderator is in the office studio and the speaker from home. Both had high-quality green screen backgrounds in operation giving the audience a highly professional appearance. It helps that the speaker was excellent. Virtual speakers need more than content they require the ability to talk to a camera unable to see, feel or hear the emotions of 400 people reacting to what he was saying.

What Does A High Quality Virtual Keynote Look Like?

A top-quality virtual keynote will look close to the stage production when done well. To achieve this is not as technically difficult as it appears. The selection of a great speaker on a relevant topic for the audience is essential. Getting this wrong will lead to a bored and ungrateful audience. Getting this right will help motivate the group and who will be grateful for the gift of the virtual session. They’ll be encouraged and inspired to make positive actions going forward.

How To Build A Home Studio To Deliver Virtual Talks

The studio can be at home or from a professional recording studio. This will depend on the location of the speaker and regional social distancing rules. Finding a recording studio may also be preferred if you wish the speaker to be alongside the moderator. But as we are showing you here in the examples, the speaker was transmitting live from his home in the UK and the moderator was at the client’s main offices in Denmark. We want to tell you how easy it is to set up a solid home recording studio.

If you plan to stream a high-quality keynote or an interactive Q&A session with a speaker then don’t have the speaker simply staring into their computer screen or camera. They should be standing up with a fully interactive background, which requires a green screen, professional microphone, high definition recording camera (though these are found on higher-end home computers) and strong lighting in the room.

Green Screen - Guide To Delivering High Quality Virtual Keynotes And Webinars (A typical Green Screen or what the Speaker places behind them)

Studio lights can be bought for about $50 on Amazon.com for three lights which include two umbrella reflectors. Alternatively, a simpler solution is to use a couple of angular desk lamps. We had a look at mics and one of the most popular and best looking is the Blue Yeti which costs about $130.This kit is not as expensive as it seems with many packages in the $200 – $400 range. It is also possible to use green fabric or even paint the wall green behind the camera.

“If a speaker delivers a really good virtual talk, the small investment in this equipment is for the long run in this rapidly evolving space. If any of the AV variables which includes the internet connection fail or drops off, clients will be extremely unhappy and unlikely to either rebook this speaker or potentially other speakers.”

Here is a link to recent buyers guide for home recording studio packages. The internet connection should be wired by ethernet cable and have a speed of at least 20mpbs. Running wirelessly is to be avoided, as no matter how strong the connection, wireless connections are prone to dropout. Test your connection speed immediately for free via Speedtest or Fast.

Promotivate Speakers Agency Green Screen backdrop - Guide To Delivering High Quality Virtual Keynotes And Webinars (Here’s our example of what the Green Screen is replaced by as seen by our virtual audience in the background)

Green Screen Software

Speakers should want to adjust the content that appeared on their stage presentations for the virtual version. This will mean that any videos, slides and sound can appear behind the speaker for both prerecorded speaking and live sessions.

This is complicated if you lack knowledge of video editing. Thankfully there are many platforms and apps available online will allow for simple editing and addition of special effects that can be trialled and tested. The simplest package that we found was one called Camtasia 2020 which is available for Windows and Mac. Buying an individual licence appeared to cost about $250 on a one of purchase basis. Apple users might also look at Final Cut Pro X which at the time of writing this article has a 90-day free trial.

Recommended Video Conferencing Platforms

When in-person communication isn’t an option, video conferencing is preferred for feeling connected with co-workers. There are numerous applications and platforms for video conferencing and collaboration.

Some, such as Cisco WebEx, are industry standards but can be expensive. Others are growing in popularity and may even be offered free or at a low cost.

Based on our actual experience in recent times we have ranked the Top 5 video conferencing platforms in the following order when considering the quality of service, usability and price.

Zoom is one of the most popular video conferencing solutions for businesses. It is feature-rich, with various plans based on business size and needs. Prices range from free for basic personal meetings to $19.99 per month (with a minimum of 100 hosts) for large enterprises.

Zoom screenshot 1024x664 - Guide To Delivering High Quality Virtual Keynotes And Webinars Source: Zoom
Microsfot Teams - Guide To Delivering High Quality Virtual Keynotes And Webinars Source: Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams has been widely adopted as part of the Microsoft 365 office suite. Teams is useful for big companies. It is possible that for small enterprises the expensive costs outweigh the benefits, but for big corporations, Teams works great to unify the company on a central hub and standardizes the tools needed for work. It is arguably the best platform for running video conferencing to the big screen for large events as the image below shows. The costs vary from free to $20 per month for small to mid-sized businesses.
Cisco WebEx is an industry-standard service, especially for those with a large number of team members or an exceptionally large enterprise, Cisco’s WebEx video conferencing service enables joining meetings online or via the phone, depending on the participant’s location and ability at the time. Pricing starts at $13.50 per month.
Cisco WebEx screenshot - Guide To Delivering High Quality Virtual Keynotes And Webinars Source: Cisco WebEx
GoToMeeting screenshot 1024x613 - Guide To Delivering High Quality Virtual Keynotes And Webinars Source: GoToMeeting
GoToMeeting has many useful features, including instant meetings or meeting scheduling and in-app meeting messaging between participants. It is not free and GoToMeeting pricing starts at $14 per month for groups of up to 10 meeting participants and costs $29 per month for larger groups of up to 150 participants.
Google Meet is an upgraded version of Google Hangouts. It is designed for G Suite users. Google Meet is for video meetings among team members, with similar features to Zoom. With many users operating their business email accounts via Google’s servers we expect Meet will quickly rise up the rankings.
Google Meet screenshot - Guide To Delivering High Quality Virtual Keynotes And Webinars Source: Google

What Are The In-Demand Virtual Speaking Topics?

Coronavirus has led to demand from expert speakers on a range of established speaking topics. The topics and the skills required to best manage difficult circumstances are directly applicable to companies working with isolation and social distancing measures well which are affecting performance at employee and company level. Here they are:

#Resilience – Overcoming adversity by being more resilient in changing and challenging times

#Change Management – How do employers and employees make the seismic shift in mindset that is required to adapt to a new world and new way of working

#Culturalchange – Many organisations will be forced to make personnel changes and recruit locally to replace internationally diverse teams. What policies can be adopted in order that the change is effective and seen positively

#Communication – How do we communicate effectively using available technologies and how often should we be communicating

#Sales & #High Performance – How to retain and even grow sales pipelines under isolation. How to build your own network of sector experts that will help growth when we are socially distancing

#Motivation– All speaker inputs should be #motivational for all of these topics, communicating positive messages. A pure motivational speaker can be engaged virtually to inspire groups in challenging times

#Leadership – How do you lead and inspire teams to perform in times of extreme difficulty. How often should be speaking to remote employees? What messages should a strong leader give out and what comments should be avoided?

#Futurework – Where does your company want to be in the future? What are the likely changes to infrastructure; changes to work/life balance, the need to be flexible and adaptable to change.

Here are speakers and the topics that they are well placed to speak virtually to audiences:

The Set-Up And Technical Requirements For Virtual Talks

Choose a strong moderator who either knows about or they will research the company and sector. A good moderator will pull the strings, give energy and is the interaction between the online audience (who will send questions for the speaker) and the speaker. If possible we recommend that the leadership of an organisation moderate as it provides airtime and shows empathy from above.

‘The moderator is, therefore, the face of the company.’

Select a strong speaker on a relevant topic of interest, from those we mentioned above. The speaker should in addition to their experience have the home studio recording setup that we’ve been outlining above. Another option is to travel to a local recording studio or even the client’s office to record the live stream from. There are recording studios in most cities who provide these services.

Screenshot 2020 05 15 at 14.04.05 1024x531 - Guide To Delivering High Quality Virtual Keynotes And Webinars Jim Lawless: Green Screen
bear grylls 2 - Guide To Delivering High Quality Virtual Keynotes And Webinars Bear Grylls: Teaser Video – Click image to play
Brief the speaker at least 3 days before the talk to discuss the objectives and desired outcomes. To help build the audience, have the speaker send a maximum two-minute ‘Teaser Video’ announcing their participation and a summary of what they will be talking about. Here is the teaser Bear Grylls recorded by way of example for an up and coming conference.
Limit to 35 – 30 minutes for keynote delivery followed by Q&A. Our experience shows that going beyond a total time of 45 minutes is likely to be counterproductive. Consider that the viewers are sitting in front of computers with access to the internet, email and other distractions. We also work with speakers who are very comfortable and effective communicators for up to 90 minutes. But for most groups, the shorter duration is advised.

The 9 Key Elements & The Order of the Virtual Session should be as follows;

(1) The virtual waiting room area opens 5 minutes before with a looping speaker video c.30 seconds

(ii) Exactly on-time the Moderator will welcome guests, set the scene and introduce the speaker.

iii) Play the speaker’s introductory video (usually up to 3 mins in length>

(iv) at around 30 minutes the speaker concludes their keynote and opens for questions.

(v) the moderator will select questions from the audience, which can be sent using the chat room facility on most video conferencing platforms. Or for greater interactivity using an app like Slido for running polls and generating useful feedback from the online audience. This session lasts for as long as the Moderator feels fits the situation.

(vi) The Moderator will close out the entire session within 45 minutes (be aware that some free versions of video conferencing software have time limits on duration. Zooms free version allows up to 100 users and limits the conference to 40 minutes, and automatically turns the session off if the user goes beyond their time limit.

(vii) Take feedback on the same day from your audience whilst it is fresh in their minds. Did they enjoy it? Was the session valuable? What did they learn most? Do they have suggestions to make improvements? Would they like to participate in future virtual sessions?

(viii) Share the feedback with your audience as much as possible. We recommend also asking the speaker to produce a summary of their key points and include this. See the example on the right we sent out for a recent virtual talk by leading speaker Jim Lawless to 400 people at a global pharmaceutical company.

(ix) Finally, review the entire virtual process. It should be very easy to organise and set up. If it was not, then look at where the problems arose from the audience feedback and fix them for the next session.

Example Follow Up Recap  The Ten Rules For Taming Tigers Recap for  client name removed  May 2020 copy - Guide To Delivering High Quality Virtual Keynotes And Webinars (Follow Up Notes of Jim Lawless after his virtual keynote)

In Conclusion

Virtual speaking is easy to set up professionally, cost-effective and should be an extremely effective tool for communicating positivity to isolated employees. Or perhaps for impressing client partners.

If you have any questions at all about how to run a successful virtual keynote or webinar speaker series we’re happy to speak on a video conferencing platform and guide you.

Jonathan Curran, Managing Director

Promotivate Speakers Agency

A Guide To Virtual Webinar Sessions And Virtual Keynote Speaking – Is One Better?

Empty Conference Room e1588681452339 - A Guide To Virtual Webinar Sessions And Virtual Keynote Speaking - Is One Better?

First! What’s The Actual Difference Between a Virtual Keynote and a Virtual Webinar?

 

A webinar (a combination of the words “web” and “seminar”) is a video workshop, lecture, or presentation hosted online using webinar software. Often business-related, these sessions can be used to share knowledge, ideas, and updates with people around the world. Webinars can also be leveraged to build and nurture relationships, build authority around a brand, or demonstrate a product.

A virtual keynote delivery is a live speech by a speaker to a live virtual audience. They typically involve the speaker foccussing on topics of relevence to the organsitation. They can be tailored to a clients specific needs with an advance briefing or planning call.  The interactive part of these virtual sessions normally comes from questions being sent digitally and answered following the session. A moderator is required to help the speaker manage the question feed.

With the effects of Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant changes to the way in which companies work with their employees, the way in which we communicate has likely changed forever. 

There are significant advantages of being able to provide top-class speakers for moderated virtual webinars and keynote delivery directly to companies worldwide.

Lets in the first instance look at the disadvantages compared to the advantages of hosting virtual sessions.

Virtual Speaking 1024x536 - A Guide To Virtual Webinar Sessions And Virtual Keynote Speaking - Is One Better?

Disadvantages of Virtual Sessions

  • Lack of one-to-one and team interaction with employees or client partners
  • Perceived technical connection issues
  • Potential security risks due to engaging 3rd party conference streaming software
  • Frustration if set up poorly

Advantages of Virtual Sessions

  • Easy and quick to set up
  • Direct communication with employees and clients,  showing that the organisation cares about its people
  • Significant travel and accommodation savings
  • More efficient use of employees and clients time
  • Ability to ensure the ‘target’ corporate theme/message is delivered within a concise window of time to a defined audience
  • Easy to encourage full participation by a selection of a great speaker, topic and advance invitation by email (teaser video encouraged, see below)
  • The audience has the ability to ask questions and interact online
  • A professional moderator will add a lot of online audience engagement
  • The session is more intimate in comparison to a large auditorium
  • Easy to compile a short summary video for follow up and a reminder of the session
  • Access to speakers worldwide, not just in your region
  • Less expensive speaker fees, due to no travel requirements

 

Speaker Selection

The first important consideration to note is that ‘not all speakers like virtual speaking, and are competent at it.’

This is likely to change as remote working becomes the normal and in most cases speakers will have to adapt to this new world. But many speakers are already experts on relevant topics that include; resilience, teamwork, communicating remotely; taking risk; remote sales and more.

The good news is that many of the worlds leading conference speakers from the former pre-Coronavirus period have adapted quickly to speaking virtually. Some speakers and celebrities already have studio arrangements in their own home for greater interaction and with fans. This is a real benefit!

Speaker fees are also affected in a positive way for clients. Without travel speakers fees can be reduced as they are now able to work on more than one talk per day from home.

To look at speakers of interest in this area visit the Speakers page here.

 

The Moderator

“The role of the moderator is extremely important when it comes to virtual webinars and virtual speaking. A good moderator will control the energy levels and what the audience leave the session having learned.”

Virtual Moderator 1024x536 - A Guide To Virtual Webinar Sessions And Virtual Keynote Speaking - Is One Better?

A great moderator is like a chat show host, able to add humour but importantly have researched the client, speaker and the industry sector itself.

In doing so, they are able to manage the interactive question and answer session with skill.

They command the virtual room and should be considered as important as the speaker themselves by the client.

Companies may also where possible use the senior leadership for these sessions as it allows a great platform for communication from above.

 

 

How Long Should A Virtual Webinar or Keynote Delivery Be?

There is a direct answer for this, based upon our experience of what has worked and not worked so well.

Virtual Keynote Delivery: 25 – 45 minutes followed by 15 minutes interactive Q&A

Virtual Moderated Webinars: 20 – 60 minutes to include 15 minutes of interactive Q&A

 

Virtual Platforms 1024x536 - A Guide To Virtual Webinar Sessions And Virtual Keynote Speaking - Is One Better?

Which Platform To Use And At What Cost?

This depends largely on how companies and organisations have been communicating internally and externally via video conferencing platforms. Security plays a key factor in determining which platform is most suitable.

Here are some of the most popular video conferencing platforms in use: Skype for Business, Zoom, Livestorm, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet

In addition to this, the numbers of people who will be invited and attend the virtual session will influence which platform works best. For example Zoom’s offering is free for up to 100 participants on a video call but limited to 40 minutes.

To have 500 participants and unlimited call time you would require the purchase of a professional licence. With Livestorm where you can have up to 2,000 participants per call the licence fee would for running unlimited webinars is c. $400 USD per month.

Looking beyond the more well known commercial videoing names there are also a host of bespoke platforms, that companies seeking greater multi-screen capability should consider. Twentythree is one of these and we have included their pricing model here by example.

Here is a link to a good reference page that summarises the capabilities of the current video conferencing providers.

 

What Does The Remote Worker Require?

An internet speed of 10 Mbps or more guarantees successful connection to the virtual set up. They should make sure that they have well in advance downloaded the required software and then check the video and sound settings on their terminal.

The positioning of the computer or handheld device closer to the wireless router should be considered. We recommend that participants should test their internet speed using free online checkers such as Speedtest.net or Speedcheck.org.

Money 1024x536 - A Guide To Virtual Webinar Sessions And Virtual Keynote Speaking - Is One Better?

 

How Much? What Are The Fees for Booking Virtual Speaking & Webinars

This is the question that we have been receiving repeatedly since March 2020. The answer is that they vary, but we are finding an acceptable level. We have found that there are many less-competent speakers marketing talks for very little money or free.

This we understand, but it should not mean that experienced and leading conference speakers should also give away their talks if going online.

With the speakers themselves finding that their incomes have been affected by the loss of conference work, here at Promotivate we have been recommending that the speaker’s fees for virtual speaking should amount to 50% of their normal speaking fee.

The only exception to this being if the client booking the speaker requires the speaker to spend significantly more time preparing for the virtual session.

 

Testing, Teaser Videos, Trial Runs and Add-Ons

We recommend that at least a 15-minute test run is completed a few days before the virtual event itself.  If audience participation is included; such as having live Q&A or online poling then this should be included.

bear grylls 2 - A Guide To Virtual Webinar Sessions And Virtual Keynote Speaking - Is One Better?We also like to ask speakers to provide clients with a short teaser video. Normally the video is no longer than a minute and should announce their arrival and what they are coming to talk about.

It’s a great way to make sure signup and attend the virtual meet. Here’s an example we had Bear Grylls record for a forthcoming virtual conference.

View: Bear Grylls Teaser Video

For example, we like a mobile phone application called sli.do which allows the online audience to answer questions set by the organisation in advance, during or following the virtual session.

Slido Image 300x146 - A Guide To Virtual Webinar Sessions And Virtual Keynote Speaking - Is One Better?

Slido improves the interactivity and provides valuable feedback to leadership teams about important issues that are affecting the group in real-time. This also then enables reactive measures and behavioural change to be applied.  The feedback can be anonymised if required.

Conclusion

We believe that virtual keynote and virtual webinars will become far more popular as people familiarise themselves with remote working.

There is no answer to whether a webinar or a keynote is better. This is simply down to the need of the audience. Both virtual setups will undoubtedly be useful in moving forward. Companies will be using both virtual programs to communicate at far less cost than flying employees and client partners to annual conferences worldwide.

We look forward to the return of the physical conferences when normality is restored. But we believe the speaker industry can benefit from companies booking a series of virtual talks annually when previously one big organised event was scheduled.

“In the longer term, the combination of both virtual and traditional conference speaking should see the industry restored to beyond its pre-Coronavirus levels.”

If we can help you organise either a virtual talk or a webinar programme we’ll be pleased to assist you. We are working normally worldwide with none of us on the government furlough support schemes. We have both the speakers and technical capability in position to deliver these advanced virtual speaking solutions now.

Jonathan Curran, Managing Director

Promotivate Speakers Agency

 

Finally, you might enjoy:  Watch the Speakers Series: ‘HOPE: COVID-19 ‘Inspiration by Experts in Resilience’

Jamil Qureshi: The #1 Most In-Demand Speaker on Improving Performance

Jamil Qureshi Motivational Speaker by Promotivate Speakers Agency

Driving Peak Performance Across Europe’s Leading Companies

 

We asked our most requested motivational speaker across our global network, performance coach Jamil Qureshi about trends he is seeing with his speaking engagements across sectors and geographies.

Promotivate: “As a psychologist and a performance coach, which of your topics seem to be most requested?”

Jamil Q. : “The world is complex, unpredictable, and uncertain. I believe the issues a company will face in the future are unimportant, but a company’s ability to form teams which can deal with those issues is essential. Much of my work is based on how leaders can create different attitudes and mindsets for performance within their business.

The future demands us to be different. So I mainly talk about how we can change people’s doing, by changing people’s thinking!”

Promotivate:  “What do most of your clients want to affect within their business?”

Jamil Q. : “That’s a tricky one, as I maybe talking to the board of an investment bank one day or contact centre team leaders the next!
I think the one thing it all boils down to, is how do I get the most out of myself and my team. Everyone needs to maximise performance; make the most of what they’ve got. It is particularly difficult to outperform the markets, create clear blue water between ourselves and the competition or commit to a growth mindset in a time of such rapid and disruptive change.
Maximising talent and capability come from ensuring that people see opportunities and possibilities and galvanise themselves around a noble cause.”

Promotivate:  Who are your favourite clients?”

Jamil Q. : “Ha! Is this a trick question? My favourite clients are open-minded ones! We can’t trust the future to people who champion the past. Clients who are prepared to challenge what they believe to be true about the world in which they are operating will see new possibilities. Clients who can break free of what I call ‘mental tramlines’, the habitual thinking that holds us in place, are the ones who may thrive. So I guess my favourite clients are the ones who aren’t afraid of a little reinvention!
I am convinced that there will be two categories of organisation in the future – brave or dead!”

 

ABOUT JAMIL QURESHI

Jamil is a recognized speaker on all things pertaining to the psychology of performance and leadership. He is one of Europe’s most in-demand corporate motivational speakers, giving over 170 keynote lectures each year.

Clients include Coca-Cola, Pfizer, GSK, Marks & Spencer, Kerry Group, Harley Davidson, Emirates Airlines, Royal Bank of Scotland, Hewlett Packard, top-flight English Premiership football clubs, fighter pilots, Formula 1 racing drivers, English cricketers, and a host of others. Jamil led teams on the Lloyds Banking Group’s ‘Journey to World Class’ global integration programme and worked on Mark’s & Spencer’s ‘resetting the standard’ programme.

 

To find out more about Jamil Qureshi and his speaking topics click here or contact us at ask@pro-motivate.com.

The World’s Greatest Ever Story of Survival 

The World's Greatest Ever Story of Survival 

With Nando Parrado, Keynote Speaker @Staples Conference, Dallas USA

 

  • One of 16 survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 which crashed in the Andes Mountains in 1972
  • Of the 45 people on board, the 28 who survived the initial crash faced starvation and death and reluctantly resorted to cannibalism
  • Rescuers believed they would not survive more than 36 hours ill-equipped and in temperatures dropping to -30℃
  • Ethan Hawke portrayed him in the 1993 Feature Film ‘Alive: Miracle In The Andes’
  • With no food, heat or mountain equipment succeeded in trekking 61km which resulted in 16 people being rescued

Very often in the life of a Speaker Agent you work with and meet speakers who are exceptional, with a genuine and a great story to tell. I travelled to Dallas, Texas to bring Uraguay’s Nando Parrado to 1,400 of Staples Store Managers.  Here is an insight into the conference, why Nando Parrado was the perfect speaker for this event followed by a short Q&A  with Nando where I asked him ‘the’ questions people want to ask but don’t!

Staples Conference

This was a big conference on a huge scale by European standards, but normal for a US company with 30,000 employees and 1,400 Store Managers.

I have attended a lot of conferences and it’s rare to see such complete audience participation let alone genuine enthusiasm from a group this large. Mike Motz the new CEO of Staples Connect (45 days into the new job at this time) has been brought in to re-energize the Staples business. I am not able to divulge the details, they are private to Staples but they do point to the need for change;  reflected in shifts in Staples corporate values, its interaction with the community and refreshingly through investment in its people.

Most people know that the high street is struggling to keep up with changes in consumer behaviour led by the giants of eCommerce versus the expense of maintaining a bricks and mortar based business.  The leadership of Staples has made a bold decision to confront the challenge head-on, without delay by changing how they operate and rebranding as Staples Connect.

From what Nando and I heard from the Store Managers who we met, they hadn’t experienced or even seen anything so positive as this conference from their employers for at least the past 10 years. This was new, refreshing and surprised all.

Conferences like this Staples in Dallas event cost $ millions of dollars to organize. The return on the significant investment has to be well thought out. Between CEO Mike Motz and the CMO Marshall Warkentin who Nando and I enjoyed listening to, this conference was a bold decision of intent. The event was meticulously put together by Jane Shanab and her team at Spark Inc, based in Toronto.

The change followed this conference, effective immediately, Staples 30,000 employees discovered that they can now wear jeans and choose their own style of shoes. The new CEO has recognized the need to revitalize the brand but importantly has looked at those that can, and if empowered with greater responsibility, deliver more. By increasing the value placed on the employees and its customers, Staples believe this change will be reflected in success for all.

A Keynote on Change by Nando Parrado

 

 

Nando Parrado was flown from Montevideo in Uruguay to deliver the message of change to Staples employees: ‘You may have a challenge ahead, but none is insurmountable and I am going to tell you why.’

For those who don’t know of Nando or his story, he tells one of the world’s greatest ever stories of survival, courage, teamwork, decision making, risk and leadership’.

In 1972 Nando then 21 years old was flying from Montevideo with his rugby team to play against a team in Santiago, Chile. Onboard the plane with Nando was his mother, sister, the pilots and 40 of his best friends. The pilots made a fateful error in bad weather conditions turning the plane in the wrong direction and smashed it into the High Andes at 18,000ft.  What happened next is remarkable, impossible.

The aeroplane broke in the middle upon impact and the front of the plane slid 4,000ft before it came to an immediate stop.  Those in the rear of the plane from row 10 onwards died immediately upon the first impact. Nando was sat in row 9 and survived. (The first miracle) The plane landed on a 25-metre wide gap of snow between rocks at 18,000ft. Crashing left or right of this strip would have meant certain death. (The second miracle)

Temperatures outside were -30℃ below freezing. The 27 survivors had arrived wearing summer clothes, ill-equipped for what lay ahead.  Rescue experts looking for the plane gave them no more than 36 hours to survive.  At 14,000 ft search helicopters couldn’t reach them, and couldn’t find the plane as it was white in colour and blended in naturally with the snow-covered mountains.

Day after day, the situation became direr. On the tenth day, they were listening to a small radio playing at a local station. They heard the broadcaster announce that the search for them had been called off. It was now believed impossible that anyone would be found alive. Following the announcement, the newsreader then reverted to playing music.

What happens next defines Nando Parrado. He will tell the audience that he is ‘not a hero’ and that ‘anyone else faced with the same situation would have done the same thing’.

I am sorry Nando, I would love to think that I or anyone else would have taken the same courageous decision you took, but I can’t!

Having endured weeks of being in hell – described by Nando as ‘worse than being in Dante’s Inferno’. Nando lost his mother, his sister (only 17 years old) who died in his arms and half of his rugby team. This story that Nando tells is one of decision making, leadership, bravery, risk, teamwork at a level I don’t think anyone else has experienced.

Having survived for two months, when the whole world thought they were dead Nando Perrado together with his teammate Roberto Canessa completed a gruelling trek across the world’s most inhospitable mountain range and found help. They crossed glaciers and climbed without any equipment with only a sleeping bag made from the lining of the aeroplane. They trekked for over 60 kilometres for 10 days before finding civilization and the rescue.

Canessa who was almost dead went straight to the hospital. Nando went straight into the rescue helicopter wasting no time to point out where the plane was and collect the survivors. Fourteen others had survived due to the decision making and courage of Nando and Roberto.

Towards the end of Nando’s keynote, he plays a video containing beautiful images of his family that includes Nando as a young boy with his own parents, with backing music of ‘The Living Years’ by Mike and the Mechanics.  It’s a reminder of how much he has appreciated his entire life, cherishes his family and enjoys living in the present day.

“I am happy to be alive.” – Nando Parrado

….. and finally by way of a little humour. Nobody knew this, Nando was due to arrive a day earlier for the Dallas conference. Upon take off from Montevideo, whilst taxing along with the runway flying headed to Santiago (the same route as in 1972), with Nando overlooking the wing, the engine sputtered and then exploded.

The plane was forced to abandon the flight and return to the terminal. I asked Nando had this concerned him? The answer, “No, I also have my own private plane license and regularly fly single prop planes”

Speaker Star Quality

Nando Perrado exudes happiness. He lives for every day, for his family and his dogs. He is a highly successful businessman in Uruguay.

What further separates Nando from other speakers is his willingness to do more than just speak at conferences. From the initial briefing call, Nando makes the offer that the client can use him for additional meetings, media interviews and sponsors events.

Once Nando is on the ground at a conference he is at the client’s full disposal for the entire duration of his stay there. In our experience, we see many others will take the speaking fee and run to their next event. Nando Parrado is refreshingly accommodating.

Q&A With Nando?

  • Are you afraid of flying? ‘No not at all, I have a single engine private pilots license and fly regularly’

 

  • What motivates you in life? ‘Every day I am thankful for just being alive. I never look back to the past, how can I, the only way for me if to look to the future and the opportunity life gives. I am a successful owner of three businesses, I travel the world with my passion which is motorsport and I have a beautiful family, I am happy.’

 

  • What was it like to eat human flesh? ‘Firstly let me explain that on the aeroplane that crashed we found only two chocolate bars and there were 28 survivors at that point. We had no food and no heat and we knew that we were starving to death. At the time we made a pact by shaking hands that we would eat the bodies of our dead friends. People want to know what human flesh tastes like, I have one answer, ‘hope’. We did not want to do this, but we had to, there was no other way to survive, so that is why the taste is best described as ‘hope’ because it gave us hope.’

 

  • Do you like speaking at conferences? ‘When I get a really good audience, in a great location I am really happy to speak. I ask my wife Veronique, and if she likes the location then it’s even better and we will normally book to stay for three to seven nights as a mini-vacation’.

 

  • If you have one message that you would give to inspire people what would it be? ‘That I am not special, a hero or any different to the people that I meet. I simply did what everyone else would do when faced with the same situation. But what I have learned from surviving death not once but three times in 1972 is that every day is a new opportunity, where there are no limits to what people can achieve. Be happy and enjoy your family and friends who are the most important people in your lives.’

Nando Parrado was the keynote speaker at the Staples US Store Managers Conference held at the Hotel Anatole in Dallas, Texas. Represented by Promotivate Speakers Agency. Enquire about booking Nando Parrado and check his availability here.

Of Interest – Other Recent Headline Talks and Speakers by Promotivate Speakers

Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder of Apple Speaks in Warsaw at the Polish National Foundation 100 x 100 series

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, described by the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Greatest Living Explorer, keynote at the .NEXT conference, Anaheim, California, May 2019.

Dr David Hanson, the world’s leading inventor of humanoid robots, including ‘Sophia’ address the <……> in the Dubai, UAE, April 2019

Alex Zanardi, former Formula One driver and multiple Olympic Champion and Ironman WR holders to address Malta’s business community, June 2019

Nicola Adams, MBE the double Olympic Gold Medal winning boxing champion speaks at Blue Prism, Reading conference with great success, May 2019

 

 

Ten Powerful Women in Leadership, Business & Technology that are Changing the World

female conference speakers

It would be difficult to argue the opinion that the world wouldn’t be where it is today, on the road to equality and advanced technology, without strong women leading the way to change. Here are ten of our favorite women who are leading the way to change the world with their abilities in business and technology.

 

Kriti Sharma

  • Recently named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 and Vice-President of AI at SAGE, Kriti Sharma is an artificial technologist who sees a future where AI can become a normal, integrated part of human life.
  • She actively promotes diversity and ethics in artificial intelligence, advocating for a shift from male-coded, woman voiced AI to a more equal voiced technology where all cultures are included in the technology that is created.
  • Since 2017, Kriti has been included in Recode 100 List of Key Influencers in Technology
  • Founded AI For Good, and has hosted countless viral TedTalks.

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Robin Chase

  • Most notably known for her founding of Zipcar carsharing, Robin Chase is a pioneer in spearheading the future of the transportation industry.
  • She is now the founder of Veniam, a platform that connects all devices, appliances, etc. to the internet with a plan of taking the power away from the corporate monsters.
  • Writer, leader, and recipient of many awards such as Times 100 Most Influential People.
  • Robin is a symbol of success for women entrepreneurs.

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Kathryn Parsons

  • She has won many awards, including The Sunday Times Top 30 Female Power List.
  • Do you think you can learn to code in a day? You can with Decoded, the successful online platform founded by Kathryn Parsons, who saw a demand for knowledge, fed the masses, and became a massive success.
  • Kathryn is an expert in the digital economy and is considered one of the most influential people in global technology start-ups.

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Lisa Bodell

  • No stranger to the best-seller shelf, Lisa Bodell has built a following of forward-thinking women and men, creating a new way of leading in change management.
  • Having worked with many large corporations, Lisa has helped shift the mindset of seasoned management, driving them towards innovation and strategic planning using forward thinking.
  • She has found more than one company, most recently of which is futurethink.

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Jo Malone

  • Her successful cosmetics line bearing her name has made her one of the country’s leading entrepreneurs.
  • There are very few women in the UK who haven’t heard of Jo Malone.
  • Her story of humble beginnings making fragrances in her mother’s kitchen has helped set goals or other women to chase what they love.
  • She actively promotes methods for other small businesses to reach global markets.

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Araceli Segarra

  • Would you climb the mountains to achieve your dreams? The first Spanish woman to climb Everest, Araceli Segarra has conquered her obstacles.
  • Author, illustrator, model, and television personality, there are few people who can’t be drawn into her success.
  • Through her public speaking, she motivates her crowds with stories of her climbing adventures, using metaphors to build her teaching.
  • Araceli has become a leader in business and in her careers.

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Ann Daniels

  • One of the many things Ann Daniels has learned is if you can raise triplet and survive, you can make it to the top (and bottom) of the world no problem and set a Guinness World Record in the process.
  • Ann supports many charities and has been at the forefront of scientific research of the rapidly disappearing Arctic Ocean.
  • She focuses her speaking on leadership and teamwork, along with other traits needed to run a successful business, and their importance in reaching your victories.

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Alicia Tillman

  • Chief Marketing Officer at SAP, Alicia Tillman is regardest as one of the top females in marketing across the globe.
  • She doesn’t fear leadership and has become a strong advocate for creating a strong brand, having been responsible for that very success in the businesses she has worked with.
  • She has motivated female leaders across the globe, inspiring them to take initiative and get creative in the field of marketing.

View Full Profile

 

At ProMotivate we have access to hundreds of world-class conference speakers from wider areas of technology and innovation. Find out more about these inspiring women and how you can request one for your next event here.

How Steve Wozniak, Apple Co-Founder Motivates Himself And Thinks About Facebook, Live from Warsaw

How Steve Wozniak, Apple Co-Founder Motivates Himself And Thinks About Facebook, Live from Warsaw

On November 27th as speaker agents for Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder of Apple we recommended and travelled with Woz to Poland where he gave an inspirational talk to 250 of Poland’s future tech stars. This was followed by media interviews and an intimate VIP dinner which was attended Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki.

It’s widely reported in the press that Poland is fast becoming the Silicon Valley of Europe and who better than Steve Wozniak to help inspire the next generation of innovators in this rapidly developing country.

Whilst working for Hewlett Packard Steve Wozniak built and designed and built the Apple computer. Amazingly five times HP turned down the opportunity to build his easy to use home computer. Then Woz found Steve Jobs and the rest is history!

Woz’s session in Poland’s capital, Warsaw was captivating and widely reported in the press and on television.

Here is a link to the longer synopsis of Woz’s fascinating one-hour session on the conference stage with host Pawel Karson. We have an edited video of this session if you’d like to watch the Woz and hear him speak about how he founded Apple; what is coming next in technology; his personal ‘3 F’s’ mantra for success and happiness in life and his very interesting current thoughts on Facebook!

So good is the video that it had reached 1.33m views on YouTube within 5 days of release following Woz’s visit to Poland.

Finally, we have to comment that Poland is a wonderful country, the people, skill levels, revamped cities, history, food (perogies!), it has so much to offer the world. The name Wozniak is the 10th most common surname in Poland, and Steve is very proud of his connections to this fast-rising country.

Read the article in full and discover what the ‘Three F’s’  are that Steve Wozniak has adhered to since his days as an engineering student at Stanford and Berkely.

 

Are you interested in bringing Steve Wozniak or another leading speaker to your conference?

Since 2005 we’ve been successfully representing the biggest names and most in-demand speakers for conferences and off-sites from Lisbon to Athens. From sales kickoff inspiration, leadership, innovation, healthcare, retail, change by 500+ speakers.

ask@pro-motivate.com

 

Mika Hakkinen and Mark Gallagher in Warsaw Speaking on ‘Decision Making Under Pressure’

Mika Hakkinen and Mark Gallagher in Warsaw Speaking on 'Decision Making Under Pressure'

Last week two of our speakers were in Poland thanks to the foundation Polska Fundacja Narodowa. Mika Häkkinen and Mark Gallagher spoke about their experiences in motor racing and building high performances team to win. Below we show you the intervention of them in the event and a small video about Mika Häkkinen.

Pro Motivate agency - Mika Hakkinen and Mark Gallagher in Warsaw Speaking on 'Decision Making Under Pressure'

 

A short video overview of Mika’s career by Promotivate:

#RiskSpeakers
#HighPerformance
#TeamworkSpeakers
#TechnologyinBusiness

 

The Leading Names in Speaking across Europe

Since 2005 we’ve been successfully representing the biggest names and most in-demand speakers for conferences and off-sites from Lisbon to Athens. From sales kickoff inspiration, leadership, innovation, healthcare, retail, change by 500+ speakers.

 

Top 10 Speakers on Artificial Intelligence in Europe by ProMotivate Speakers Agency

Top 10 Speakers on Artificial Intelligence in Europe by ProMotivate Speakers Agency

Looking for Artificial Intelligence Speaker? ProMotivate represents and provides a high proportion of Europe’s leading speakers on Artificial Intelligence (AI) for conferences across Europe.

Here are our Top 10 experts on Artificial Intelligence who are sought after conference keynote speakers on AI.

Nick Bostrom– Oxford, U.K

  • Philosopher and world’s leading artificial intelligence expert
  • Author of the New York Times Bestseller ‘Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies’
  • Multi-disciplined (physics, computational neuroscience, mathematical logic, and philosophy)
  • Regarded as one of the top 100 global thinkers

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Mustafa Suleyman – London, U.K

  • Co-Founder of DeepMind Technologies
  • Head of applied AI at DeepMind
  • Founder of DeepMind Health
  • Entrepreneur and acknowledged AI expert

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Hans-Christiaan Boos – Travels from Germany

  • Global AI trailblazer and leader
  • Founder and CEO of Argo, an IT company specialising in AI
  • Recipient of the John F. Kennedy National Leadership Award as ‘one of Germany’s outstanding leaders in IT’
  • An accomplished author in the field of IT and AI

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Falon Fatemi – Travels from North America

  • Young high-tech and startup specialist, innovator, and entrepreneur
  • CEO of Node – advocates of using people-based Artificial Intelligence to create opportunities
  • Youngest full-time Google employee (19 years of age)
  • Advocate for gender-gap bridging in the world of high-tech

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Professor Shafi Ahmed – Travels from London

  • The virtual surgeon – ‘most-watched surgeon in human history’
  • Performed the world’s first virtual reality operation that went viral
  • Co-founder of Virtual Medics, and Medical Realities
  • Chief Medical Officer of Doc Health, an app giving 24-hours access to clinical care

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Inma Martinez – Travels from London

  • Amongst the World’s Leading Digital Media Strategists.
  • Female mobile and technology data, A.I and product maverick.
  • Driving force in innovation advances on the web and in the mobile industry.
  • Consultant to governments and businesses on all things data related within the mobile and internet industries.
  • Keynote speaker on different aspects of digitalisation within industry and government.

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Sophie Hackford – Travels from London

  • Futurist, business builder, and speaker
  • Previously responsible for WIRED magazine’s consulting business
  • Expert in emerging technologies, AI, Robotics, Virtual Reality, Data Analytics and their uses for the future of business

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Kriti Sharma – Travels from UK

  • Artificial Intelligence technologist
  • Named in Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30
  • Global civic leader at the Obama Foundation
  • Improving diversity in tech
  • Fintech, design and millennial entrepreneurship expert

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Nell Watson – Travels from Belgium

  • Expert in artificial intelligence, engineer, entrepreneur, and futurist thinker
  • Founder of Poikos (QuantaCorp), a machine learning-driven AI
  • Co-founder of OpenEth, a non-profit machine ethics research company

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David Rowan – Travels from London

  • Founder & Editor-at-Large of Technology Magazine WIRED UK.
  • Keynotes on Future Trends across multi-sector and multi-product areas from AI, VR, Blockchain, Payments.
  • Google Zeitgeist, Chair of the G8 Innovation Summit, TED Global in addition to hundreds of corporate keynotes.
  • Disruptive Technology and how companies can protect themselves from it, from healthcare, media, travel, financial services and more.

View Full Profile

At ProMotivate we have access to hundreds of world-class conference speakers from wider areas of technology and innovation. If you would like guidance or recommendations for speakers please contact us directly and we’ll be pleased to use our expertise to help you find the right speaker for your audience.

Looking for an AI speaker? We provide conference speakers across Europe (from offices in Spain and the UK) and in South America (Peru). The best artificial intelligence keynote speaker.

How to Succeed as an Entrepreneur

Leadership Speakers
EmilyMoya JackParsons 03 1 1 150x150 - How to Succeed as an Entrepreneur
In the digital age of 2018, an increasing number of people are taking to entrepreneurship instead of seeking roles in existing companies. Entrepreneurs need leadership qualities and plenty of ambition to help them succeed and stay motivated when running their own business. Jack Parsons, an inspiring young entrepreneur, and media influencer who runs an organisation dedicated to helping fellow budding business owners shares his secrets to his success at such a young age.

Fresh perspective

Any new business needs a fresh idea; something different that hasn’t been done before. The most creative, fearless, sometimes even crazy ideas are the ones that succeed. Don’t be afraid to dream big and try to look at the world from a fresh perspective.

Be resourceful

It is common for entrepreneurs to start from nothing and work their way up; this often means both financially and in terms of experience. Therefore, resourcefulness is key. The ability to make ends meet even on a tight budget and come up with creative ways to finance your efforts is vital in the early days of your business.

Networking

In order to make your business grow and establish itself on the market, it is important to create good connections with like-minded people. A good network of people can often serve as a helping hand. Don’t feel like you have to do everything on your own; help is there when you need it so don’t be afraid to ask!

Confidence and drive

Arguably the most essential part in succeeding as an entrepreneur is having absolute confidence in yourself and your ideas, and drive to make it all happen of course. If you believe in your business, you will have much more motivation to not only get started, but to keep working through the struggles you might face along the way. pa

Want to find out more about Jack? Visit our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for regular news updates!

ProMotivate, an international motivational speaker bureau that provides hundreds of organisations with motivational speakers to encourage positive change in the workplace and support employee engagement, leadership, entrepreneurship and corporate learning among others.