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Archive for the ‘Professional Speaking’ Category

The Video Experience: Body of Work

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

16608099620_ce602bbf52Over the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing a concept we have coined; ‘The Video Experience.’ Video allows the web visitor an experiential opportunity to get to know you better than just plain text and pictures. Video has emotion and can set a mood that will help your web visitor pick you over your competition.

Video content not only provides a pleasant user experience, it also plays a huge role in defining your organization and the benefits you provide that your competition does not.

The concept of The Video Experience isn’t only expressed by the quality of your content; it is also expressed by the experiential value of the content itself. This applies to all businesses, entertainers, and just about every business you can think of.

So what does your video look like in your mind’s eye? Consider that even though you may not realize it or see it, every business has a talent that makes them unique or different. We call that talent a body of work.

We all have collective experiences from our own lives that are valuable. We all have something to offer and video is the best medium to share that body of work.

For some, it may be methods for plumbing. For others, it may be entertainment or it may be parenting. Everyone has something that makes them shine, and the collective experiences from your body of work have value to others. These experiences can help others save time and accomplish their goals quicker than if they did not have your perspective.

This collective knowledge and experience is known as your “Body of Work.”

Let’s take Primeau Productions client/Keynote Speaker Steve Rizzo for example. Steve was an up-and-coming comedian from Brooklyn for the first part of his career, opening for acts such as Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, and many, many more. As explained in this video, Rizzo decided that after years of bringing humor to peoples’ lives, he wanted to use his skills, talents, and experiences to help people throughout their lives. This is how Steve Rizzo became “A Seriously Funny Guy.” He applied those experiences working in stand-up comedy to help people live healthy, happy, and humorous lives.

Now, Steve Rizzo is presenting to crowds of thousands, aspiring to inspire their lives for the better utilizing his comedy and skills in public speaking from doing comedy.

In the case of Steve Rizzo, he took his knowledge and found a relative medium to help people and created content that others will benefit from in their daily lives.

This is an example of ‘A body of work.’

Everyone’s life path is different, and the experiences you have will always differ from everyone around you. Always play to those strengths. The things that make you shine naturally will resonate the most with people, and the experiences taken from them can provide audiences with a new perspective. If you shine in something that doesn’t directly pertain to your profession, relate it. When thinking about your content, always remember that everything is relative, and everyone can offer a fresh perspective.

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How to Become a Million Dollar Round Table Speaker

Monday, July 29th, 2013

4561176486_9ba23b6cc9If you are reading this blog post, you are probably an expert that speaks professionally and is interested in speaking to the Million Dollar Round Table. You probably know that the Million Dollar Round Table is an organization whose members come to learn from experts like yourself as well as some of the most experienced sales experts who are authors and professional speakers, as well as professional agents.

Top Producers from over 78 nations and territories and about 430 insurance and financial planning companies come to this annual meeting for continuing their education and mass mentoring. MDRT, as it is know in short, has members whose ages range from their early 20s to 90+.

Why should you speak for free on the MDRT stage? It provides you the opportunity to be visible to several insurance companies at the same time. These companies all have annual meetings and hire professional speakers. Please note that MDRT does compensate some of the main stage presenters.

How can you be one of the selected speakers for MDRT?

1.  You have to be really, really good at what you do.

2.  You need to connect with the members of the Main Platform selection committee and show them how good you are.

3.  It doesn’t hurt to have some respected MDRT producers/officers recommend you.

It also doesn’t hurt to have a great video of EXACTLY what you would be presenting. About 15 to 20 minutes since that is the length of an MDRT presentation. They review 2,500 videos and select 14.

What do you do if you are invited to speak? The first thing to do is have a professional video production company like Primeau Productions create an unedited 20 minute section from a recent speaking engagement. Once authored to DVD, you would send the video to the MDRT platform selection committee.

How do you know if you are good enough?  Compare yourself to your peers who have stood on the MDRT stage. Do you believe in your message and feel confident with your platform mechanics? It is also a good idea to also ask your peers to tell you about their experience and spin off speaking engagements received as you plan your strategy.

MDRT is one of the most prestigious speaking platforms in the world. Having spoken for MDRT is a huge credential and can be used in your future marketing efforts.

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Ed Primeau featured on NSA Chat

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

5042764163_15405340feBy: Bradley Finegan

Last Tuesday, Gina Carr had Ed Primeau as a guest “tweeter” for her weekly NSA Chat. #NSAchat is a weekly live chat via twitter created for keynote speakers. These chats provide a Q&A session with experienced members from different aspects of the industry.  For those who missed it, I’m creating this blog post to lay out some of the highlights of the chat.

The first thing Ed asked his fellow tweeters was: “How many people hate themselves on video?” Many speakers don’t like the way they come off on video.  Speakers begin to second guess themselves, which leads to questioning aspects of their performance; aspects such as their own vocal quality, movement, energy, etc. Ed’s advice for those people was simple:

 “If you embrace the video recording process, you will love yourself on video.

Becoming comfortable in front of a camera is not an easy task for some, but it is a skill that is very crucial for speakers.  As with all things, practice makes perfect, so Primeau suggests that speakers video record themselves before hiring a professional.  This will teach speakers how to remain comfortable in front of a camera before they invest in the real deal.  No one wants to be unprepared!

Another question that was presented during the NSA Chat was regarding the audience texting during presentations.  With the expansion of smartphones and cellphones, people like to stay connected at all times (and they love distractions!).  Ed suggests that speakers take advantage of this opportunity.  Prohibiting people from using their cell phones is near impossible these days, so Ed recommends guiding your audience to tweet during your presentation.  Encourage them to share your wisdom with their followers.  Tweeting drives traffic to your site, and optimally, to your purchasable content.  Get used to your audience using their portable electronic devices during presentations; it’s not going away!

To see the rest of Ed’s tips from the NSA Chat session, follow this link to check out the transcript.  For more information/more NSA Chat sessions, follow @NSAChat on Twitter.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at brad@primeauproductions.com

photo credit: Twitter Bird Sketch via photopin (license)

Does My Demo Video Suck?

Friday, March 29th, 2013

5261224409_f932eebaabTelling a keynote speaker that their demo video sucks is not an easy task. It’s almost like telling someone they have bad breath. You would be doing them a favor telling the truth, but how do you bring up the subject?

Over the last 29 years the Primeau Team has produced hundreds of demo videos. We understand from experience what sells and what boosts egos.

Standing ovations help sell but more importantly boost egos (for speakers). So, rather than tell your speaker buddy that their demo sucks, have them answer the following questions:

  1. Is your demo video more than five years old?
  2. Are there any technical problems with your demo? For example, is your demo aspect ratio 4 x 3 instead of 16 x 9?
  3. Do you look different today than you look in your demo?
  4. Does your demo video lack energy?
  5. Do you cringe when you view your demo video?
  6. Do you hate how your demo video begins? (the first 60 seconds is the most important part of your demo)
  7. If you had the chance for a ‘do-over’ would you choose different music for your demo video?
  8. Have you lost more than two speaking engagements in the last 30 days? (holds cancelled or client has chosen another speaker)

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions then your demo video probably sucks.

For less than your earnings from one keynote speaking engagement you can update or re-do your demo video. So why do so many professional speakers procrastinate about completing their demo video?

Most always, we find keynote speakers who do not keep their demo video current hate the way they look on video. Others claim that their referrals are good enough to keep them in business without a demo video.

You don’t know how many speaking engagement opportunities you are missing out on if you are guilty of either of the above scenarios.

Professional speakers who present on the main stage must have a current, professionally produced demo video in order to become, stay and feel successful in today’s market.

Competition is fierce and those speakers who keep their demo videos up to date experience more speaking engagements, success, referrals, word of mouth advertising and overall great feeling of accomplishment than professional speakers who procrastinate with the demo video production process.

So, where do you being to turn around your sucky demo video circumstances?

Get great live speaking video footage before anything else. Ask the production company who recorded your video to give you full quality digital video files on a thumb drive or external hard drive. Full quality digital video files are much better than DVD copies of your speaking engagements. Invest in a couple of large thumb drives or external hard drives and ask for these high quality video files after your speech.

You need at least one great video recording to create your demo video. Then choose a professional production company to help you with the rest of the demo video production process.

The time and money invested will come back to you tenfold once you determine that your old demo video sucks, and decide to do something about it.

photo credit: Dan Monick via photopin (license)

What is a Keynote Speaker?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

4433291644_83ccaaf272After producing demo video for professional speakers for over 20 years, there’s one thing we know for sure. A keynote speaker is an expert who speaks professionally (thank you Nido Qubein) that incorporates performance, theater and content into their keynote address.

Keynote speakers are first and foremost performers. Anyone who gets on a stage to communicate a message and has low performance value will not do very well as a keynote speaker. Audience members who want to learn about the keynote speaker’s expertise will learn more through a performance than a boring lecture.

Keynote speakers who make it in the professional speaking industry have worked their craft on stage performing similar to a standup comedian or actor. The way to improve your performance is through experience and practice.

Keynote speakers are constantly improving their performance by developing new material, then performing this material with similar stage mechanics used in the theater. A Keynote speaker is also an expert at performing arts. They know how to use the full stage when performing, tell a story and use their body language to communicate in a compelling manor.

Our friend Doug Stephenson at http://www.storytelling-in-business.com/ has been working with keynote speakers, teaching them theatrical performance and storytelling for many years. Doug is the best in the business to help keynote speakers develop and grow.  That is why I believe ‘Theater’ is the second key ingredient to be a keynote speaker.

The last and perhaps most important ingredient is content. Keynote speakers who are great performers that have excellent theatrical ability but no content will not make it in the professional speaking industry as a keynote speaker. We meet this group of people all the time. The challenge is to help this group of aspiring speakers with the proper direction to grow in their areas of lack. Content is a very important ingredient in becoming a successful keynote speaker.

Industry specific speakers who present specific content directed to a particular industry will more than likely fill the gap in the conference or convention agenda but will not leave the audience with a lasting impression. This is why keynote speakers are sought after to build meeting attendance and provide value for your audience. A polished keynote speaker who is strong in these three areas is worth every cent because they add value to your meeting.  When content is delivered without the use of theatrical skill or performance expertise, chances are the audience’s expectations will fall short.

Coaches like Lou Heckler, Vickie Sullivan and Max Dixon can help you build value in your keynote presentations and grow in any of these three areas you are lacking. If you are serious about being a keynote speaker, analyze your ability for performance, theater and content. Like any profession, constant learning and development is crucial for success.

photo credit: Clegg Speech 3 via photopin (license)

Professional Speaking Trends for 2013

Monday, December 31st, 2012

3973783991_55b9207f54As 2012 comes to a close Primeau Productions has seen the beginning of many trends that we believe will be expanded on in 2013.

The first trend is the widening gap between the amateur or beginning professional speaker and the experienced veteran professional speaker. It usually takes up to three years for an aspiring professional speaker to have perfected their craft. This includes performing pro bono on just about any stage that will allow the opportunity to polish your craft. Professional speakers and professional orators know that they must have a rock solid message to communicate to a captive audience that’s interested in hearing that message. Amateur and beginning professional speakers must learn how to polish their craft in order to become sought after and memorable in order to get referrals because word of mouth is the most important tool in transition from an amateur to a professional. When people start talking about you and your message to other people in the industry, like meeting planners and speakers bureaus, that’s when your business will hit ‘critical mass’ and you will make the transition from amateur to professional.

Another trend that we see is the role of the speaker’s bureau. Speakers Bureaus must evolve with the times with the help of the professional speaker. We envision professional speakers having a more active role in helping bureaus market themselves to meeting planners and corporate clients, more so in 2013 than ever before.

Let’s face it, the Internet serves as a source of information about hiring professional speakers for corporate meetings and events. If I’m a meeting planner or corporation looking for a professional speaker I can get on the Internet and search website after website until I find exactly what I’m looking for. Shopping for a professional speaker has become easier because of the Internet and the speakers bureau role is changing from supplier of professional speaker to helping facilitate the professional speaking process within the meeting. In other words, we see speaker’s bureaus working closer with their professional speaker clients and the meeting planners in forming relationships that help coordinate the success of the professional speaker/meeting planner relationship and that being the solid backbone to help the speaker bureau to evolve.

We also see professional speakers referring leads that they receive to speaker bureaus, more often than before. Because if the speakers bureau helps the professional speaker develop their relationship with the client that they referred to the bureau, the percentage of the speaking fee the bureau will receive is well deserved because of the activity the bureau takes in coordinating this relationship.

Another trend that we see at Primeau Productions is for professional speakers to record themselves while presenting their message from the stage. First of all, the recording helps the professional speaker polish new material. Second, the recording helps avant-garde and spontaneous portions of the presentation to be reviewed and remembered, because a lot of times the professional speaker will react based on what the audience responds to during their presentation. However, that can easily be forgotten after the presentation when the professional speaker leaves the stage. And by ‘recording’ we mean audio or video – an amateur recording, something that could be referred to later on by the speaker in order to hone and polish their message.

Another trend we see is professional speakers utilizing video marketing to help build their visibility on the Internet. The more places and the more video content that the veteran professional speaker distributes across the Internet, the more likely they are to be found by the meeting planner or corporation that is looking for a professional speaker to bring in to their meeting or event. Plus, video marketing shows the depth and breadth of the speaker’s knowledge, skill and ability.

The last important trend that we see for 2013 is the professional speaker – especially the veteran – writing more content and printed material; creating books; writing blogs, and being a guest blogger on a purposeful blog to help themselves market and show the depth of their expertise. There is no better way than writing and creating printed content to help develop your message as well as prove your expertise to your demographic.

We’ve encountered many amateur ‘professional speakers’ who have not written any books or written very little blog content. Their excuse is they don’t have time. Well, that’s because they’re spending all their time trying to figure out where their next job is going to come from so they can pay the bills. It’s very important, in our opinion, to have published written content on your expertise in order to not only be found on the Internet because books and written content are another category for Internet marketing, but they also help support you, the veteran professional speaker, as the expert. And experts who speak professionally are the most sought after professional speakers.

Look at your competition in professional speaking. Who are the ones who are getting the ‘big bucks’ and all the speaking engagements? What are they, as a veteran professional speaker, doing different than what you are doing as an amateur, or an aspiring professional speaker? Do they have sponsorship opportunities with major corporations who they help reveal their brand in the professional speaker’s marketing efforts? What have they published to help position them as an expert in their category? What can you do in 2013 to follow some of these trends to help boost your professional speaking business?

These are trends that we’ve noticed in 2012 and before that have become more prominent and grown during 2012 that we see as very solid business pillars in 2013. Don’t be distracted by living in your own world and doing the same things that you’ve always done and expecting to get more business. Take a chance, try to identify some trends that you believe in, and change your business activity just enough to help your business grow in 2013.

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Professional Speaking Video Production Mistakes

Monday, November 5th, 2012

3137026754_4126848ec1With over twenty years of experience producing professional speaker demo videos, we have come to realize the most important ingredient in producing a successful speaker demo video is the clip selection process. I know of many successful professional speakers who spend one, two and three times their fee to put together a demo video. And I often meet both “seasoned” and beginner speakers who say “I’ve heard your name before – I’ve never worked with you because I’ve heard you’re expensive.” Professional video production can be expensive – however, it can also have a high return on investment. Of the professional speakers that I know who put their own demo videos together, very few can claim that their video brings them an adequate amount of business.

A high percentage of the professional speakers who we’ve worked with over the years like to be involved in the clip selection process. That is good because their eyes and ears see and hear from their public. As a video producer, I do not see and hear that feedback. Because of this, the professional speaker input in the clip selection process is very important. However, the biggest mistake professional speakers make is that they try to dictate what they feel are the best clips and the best clip order when putting together their demo video. Why do I say that’s a mistake? Because you wouldn’t have one person running a successful business or corporation – you have several. People influence you as a leader when you make decisions, just like focus groups are used to get a public opinion about a product or service and the way that the marketing is going to be packaged and positioned.

Now, professional speakers pretty much decide on their own what their price should be. But when it comes to picking clips, you’re really dealing with your package, your product and your position. And when it comes to marketing, decisions should be made by multiple people, especially people who are experts at understanding how to put demo videos together.

I believe it is very important to consider the big mistakes that I have seen professional speakers make by dictating their clip selection and clip order in their demo video and instead of allowing the video professionals to do their job. The mistakes are big because the single most important ingredient in the professional speaker demo video is the clip selection process. The clips that are picked and the order that they’re put in have to tell a story that the public gets by the end of the demo video. The public should understand what it is that you do and how you can benefit your marketplace. Your demo video is now a porthole to your other video content on the Internet: your Vimeo channel, your YouTube channel, your Facebook page, your Pinterest account, your LinkdIn account.

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Tom Hegna – Retirement Keynote Speaker

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

100_1860I have a great job because it gives me opportunities to meet some of the best professional speakers, authors and entertainers in the world. My company, Primeau Productions, produces marketing video to help these people gain more visibility on the Internet for their speeches, performances and products. Sure, the income is great and our company is very successful, but the bonus that I did not expect is the learning experiences that I’ve gained while working with these great people.

One such encounter occurred in the summer of 2012 while producing a conference here in Detroit for NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors). One of their keynote presenters was a man named Tom Hegna. I had never heard of Tom and was looking forward to his keynote because so many people on the NAIFA board were excited to have Tom coming to speak to their conference. They had told me Tom had spoken several times for the Million Dollar Roundtable, and, based on my experience working with professional speakers, I knew that getting on the roundtable stage is a huge accomplishment. Tom had spoken for the Million Dollar Roundtable several times around the world, so I knew this guy had to be something to see. When Tom took the stage he was absolutely dynamic, attention-getting and entertaining, all within the first sixty seconds of his presentation. I took notes and learned so much while producing the show that I had to go shake his hand after his keynote was complete. He was doing meet-and-greet at his table where he had his new book displayed, “Paychecks and Playchecks.” I shook his hand and complimented him on his presentation. I had to qualify my feedback, mentioning that I had been working with professional speakers for almost thirty years, producing audio and video marketing and product materials for the professional speaking industry, as well as being on the board of the local National Speakers Association chapter and having served on several committees for the NSA. Tom had mentioned that he always wanted to get into the professional speaking industry so we connected again after the event and I gave him some suggestions on what he needed to do, one of which was to put together a great demo video.

Primeau Productions recently completed Tom’s demo video and you can see it below this blog post. Throughout the production process, my creative team and I selected all of the ingredients in Tom’s presentations and put together a script outlining some of the best sections from the many video presentations he had available for us to pick clips from. The Primeau team learned from the production process of working on Tom’s video just like we learn from all of the video productions that we create and develop. The team not only has the opportunity to earn as a result of our work, but also to learn. I jokingly tell my team that we get to earn while we learn by working with these great people. It is certainly a gift to have this opportunity with so many talented people.

I anticipate Tom Hegna to become a very sought-after keynote professional speaker because of his knowledge in an area that I suspect there is no competition in the professional speaking industry. Every single organization can benefit by giving the gift of Tom’s presentation to their people. Tom speaks about retiring the right way and how to live “happily ever after.” It’s not just about anticipating the outcomes of 401Ks and it’s not just about anticipating what your income needs to be in order to survive in your senior years. Instead, Tom speaks about strategies that you can implement immediately to avoid mistakes and running out of money, which a lot of people fear, including myself.

So I hope you enjoy this demo video, which Primeau Productions recently produced and learn from Tom just like we have, so that you can retire the right way and live “happily ever after.”

Tom Hegna – Retirement Speaker – Speaker Demo Video from Primeau_Productions on Vimeo.

photo credit: 100_1860 via photopin (license)

Employee Motivation with Steve Rizzo

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

14220539866_fc2c817ce8_nOne of the biggest problems facing companies today is employee motivation. Whether we like it or not, employees bring all of their problems, situations, experiences and personal relationships from home to the office. One of the things that long-time Primeau Productions client Steve Rizzo does as a motivational speaker is to teach people how to look at life from a different perspective. Steve refers to this as “the humor perspective.” Now, this may make some of you reading this blog post angry because you think “yeah, sure, this smart, bald Italian guy from New York is gonna tell me what I need to do to make my life better?” Well, chances are the negative attitude that you have already is what is holding you back most from achieving all the successes that you want out of life. This lack of success is extremely demotivating.

The psychology of motivation began a long time ago with some of the great writers of our time: Norman Vincent Peale, Napoleon Hill and Earl Nightingale. The basic concept here – which isn’t mine, nor is it Rizzo’s – originally came from Earl Nightingale when he created the recording “The Strangest Secret.” That recording is still available today and I highly suggest that you listen to it. The concept behind “The Strangest Secret” is that what you think about comes about. That is one of the building blocks that I’ve used throughout my entire career.

Rizzo shares his experiences and helps the audience learn via stories that are sometimes serious and other times incredibly funny to help the audience learn. It’s a fact that people will learn more when they’re having fun. So not only does Riz create a fun environment when he does his keynote presentations, but he also teaches his audience – once he’s earned their trust and respect – what it takes in order to have a positive attitude and how to use humor to maintain that positive attitude from day to day.

I’ve even seen the result of his message in the forms of letters and emails from audience members as well as people on his staff.

Take a look at the video below and I think you’ll understand the value of a positive mental attitude and the way it can affect employee motivation.

photo credit: Wells_Fargo_05P via photopin (license)

Professional Speaker Demo Videos Copyright and Permission Use

Friday, October 5th, 2012

file0001646331361Any video recording–including professional speaker demo videos–must maintain integrity on all video footage, music and other prerecorded media that is used to create the demo to avoid copyright infringement. This now includes audience faces as well as music, pictures and video footage.

For the record, I am not a lawyer and my motto when producing demo videos is “when in doubt, leave it out.” In the following post I will share my experience with copyright permissions and video production integrity.

When Primeau Productions produces a demo or promo video, most people know you cannot use a copyrighted song or picture downloaded from the Internet. I know from experience not to take chances using anything that you do not have permission to use and that is not licensed in your demo or promo video.

The above facts and observations are now trumped with another copyright issue that was not an issue until recently: the faces of your audience members.

For years we always used client approved audience shots in our professional speaker demo videos.  Today however, we are more careful than ever before because we have become a litigious society.

I was recently contacted by National Speakers Association member Jolene Brown, CSP for my opinion on video recording a live event and including her client audience in the product videos. Her video supplier in Iowa, Andy Small, had reservations and did not want to film the audience faces. Great job, Andy– professionals must always use caution when recording people without their permission. Audience shots have been a huge dilemma over the years and here is what resulted from our conversations.

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