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Just over 18 months ago, I opened the annual meeting of the United Soybean Board in St. Louis, a group that represents most of the US soybean industry. I was on stage with a message for over 300 soybean farmers about opportunities for future growth. In addition, I spent 2 hours in a private session with the Board of Directors talking about opportunity. To see what I covered, read my blog post from my keynote “Accelerating Innovation: My Time With the United Soybean Board.”

We talked a lot about China and global markets as a big opportunity. Today, the industry is struggling with the fact that they while they spent a lot of time developing China a key market, the country has now targeted their beans with tariffs. They are in the front line of the new global trade war.

Who would have thought? Well, people vote, and votes matter.

With that in mind, watch this video from my good friend Jim Carroll – he’s the head of the Arkansas Soybean Board. Jim and I met when I spoke to this group. It’s a video message with his most recent update to his members – soybean farmers all of them – on their opportunities for innovation.

He’s talking about the same opportunities that I focused on in my keynote: new markets, using soybeans for new products and new opportunities (i.e. meal for fish farming in Egypt), sustainability – the whole idea of not selling ‘beans by the bushel’,’ but selling soybeans for use in different ways for different purposes. Did you know that Ford uses soybeans in seat cushions for cars? That’s an example of the type of innovative thinking occurring in the industry. Continue Reading

You can book a boring keynote speaker who will do the same old. Or, you can call me. Your choice. Here’s what you need to think about.

The Trapeze Group had me in to headline their annual user group conference – individuals thourhgout the global urban transit industry. As with many of my events, I went above and beyond and delivered far more that most other speakers who simply pay lip service, with a custom event video, Q&A and more. Read about that on this blog post, Are You Stuck with the Same Old Boring Keynote? Stop it NOW!.

But wait! There’s more! I also hosted a private meeting of key leaders in the sector; I had CEO’s and senior executives of transit organization from Memphis, Nashville, Long Beach, Dallas, Spokane, Philadelphia and more. This gave them a chance to dive deeper into the issues I framed in my keynote.

 

 

What did we cover? Take a look.

Bottom line? You can book a boring keynote speaker who will do the same old. Or, you can call me. Your choice.

Last week, in Las Vegas, I was the opening keynote for 3,000 people at the National Fire Protection Association annual conference.

I was asked to limit my remarks to 20 minutes. I don’t do TED talks – it’s difficult to fit in all the trends involving a fast future into a short time span! But I did some work, and cut myself back – and you can see the full (21 minute) talk here….

If you’ve been following me, you’ll know I’ve been doing a series of customized event videos which serve as promos for various client events. They’re short, to the point, and effective. 2-4 minutes in length.

Do they work? I’m headed to Houston right now, and the client reported that after they sent oft the video teaser, attendance registrations went up by 75%

Learn more about how I make them in this clip. The magic comes in two forms – I film in my home green screen studio, and then the magic is added by my awesome overseas video producer in Russia! Armine is actually from Armenia, and works in her day job in the TV scene in Moscow. In her spare time, she helps me out! The result is amazing! Literally. Give this a watch now.

Kick your event up a notch with your own customized video. Watch them here – and contact me for more information.

And stay tuned – we will soon be launching an opportunity for a cool video keynote summary! More details to come.

Are you tired of booking a keynote for your event – having a perfunctory phone call with your selected speaker – and having them show up at the last minute, only to deliver a  canned message that doesn’t relate to anything that is important to your participants?

So am I. They give the industry, and folks like me who work hard for your event, a bad name. And that’s not me. I really go the extra mile in working with you on material that goes beyond the event date.

Here’s a good example – I was recently booked to headline the annual summit for the Trapeze Group known as Think Transit – a company that provides software for the urban transit industry. It’s coming up this June in Nashville.

Beyond several planning conference calls to talk about content, and how I can best align my message to their overall event gaols, I took on a number of other projects to give them some extra benefits:

  • a full Q&A interview about the future of their industry, which they ran as a blog post

  • and a highly customized event promotional video, that they have been using to heighten interest in the event

In addition, I’ve been doing extensive research in my go-to tool, Dow Jones Factiva, which lets me access thousands of newsletters, newspapers, magazine, research reports and more information, so I can zone in on the specific industry issues at hand. I describe that in this short video here.

So if you are bored with the typical keynote speaker who does little to pay attention to your needs, give me a call! I’ll even pick up the phone!

Take a look at my client list. I’ve developed a worldwide reputation for keynotes and talks at Fortune 1000 leadership meetings that go beyond customization – they go to the heart of the transformative issues that need to be discussed in the room.

What’s my secret sauce? Read about how I work with you in this little video clip!

Let’s face it – your annual event, conference or leadership meeting is critically important. The last thing you need is a speaker in the opening or closing keynote slot who is going to give you perfunctory attention, deliver a canned talk, take your money, and leave you wondering, ‘what was that all about?’

Not me! I take the approach that I’m going to have to work hard to have the right to take your money!

Consider a recent project I worked on with the Trapeze Group, a software company in the urban transit space. After some back and forth, they decided I was the right guy to open their annual conference in Nashville this June. What helped to convince them was the level of customization I do in terms of the topic — something that has earned me a global reputation with a massive A-list set of clients.

But it wasn’t just that – it was the fact that fact I would go the extra mile for them with ‘event collateral’ – material they could use to drive interest in and attendance at the event. After all, that’s one of the most important up front goals.

We’re not even 2 months away from the event, and here’s what the Trapeze Group has already!

Continue Reading

Despite the fact that I’m a futurist with a relentless focus on innovative thinking, I’m probably as guilty as the next person in making quick  judgement on people and companies – particularly with respect to the scope of what they do today compared to yesterday.

So it was when I saw that a company named Lewis Tree Services wrote a blog post about my recent keynote for the annual National Rural Electrical Cooperative Technology Show in Nashville. Read their post here; you’ll also find it below.

Hmm, I thought – what is a tree company doing at an energy conference, and why would they blog about my keynote with an observation on the future of that industry? After all, what do these people do – trim and cut trees?

Continue Reading

I’m very sad to learn that Canadian PGA Professional, Jerry Anderson, who was a fixture around my home club of Credit Valley in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, passed away at the age of 62.

A slide from my 2016 keynote for the PGA of America – in which I paid tribute to the impact Jerry had on my game. See my video clip below.

As reported in the news, Jerry was “the first Canadian to win on the European Tour when he shot a 27-under par at the Ebel European Masters – Swiss Open in 1984. That 72-hole score was a record on the European Tour until Ernie Els shot a 29 under par score at the 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic.

I spoke about Jerry Anderson in my opening keynote at the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando; the theme that year was that we should recognize and give thanks to the PGA Professionals who had an impact on my our golfing life. Jerry certainly had an impact on mine; he had the remarkable patience to try to teach me over 3 seasons.

Jerry was a fixture around our club in so many remarkable ways. He was a PGA teaching professional; a regular participant in Mens Day, where he would go and shoot the lights out with an incredible short game; and in the latter years, a regular fixture on the lawn cutting equipment, constantly watching me duff my shots into the river!

And when you would pull up to the bag drop, there he was, as started, getting your bags and schlepping them to the start. I always felt bad to have a guy who was a European tour pro take my bags like that, but he would insist.

A remarkable man, and the golfing world will miss him.

The life of a speaker is always kind of interesting, because you get approached by all kinds of people who try to convince you to fly to the other side of the world and share your insight – barely for the price of a cup of coffee!

That’s a bit of an exaggeration, of course, but over 25 years on the stage I’ve seen it all. The most common approach is when you get a client who tries you to convince you that the mere opportunity of allowing you to speak to *them* will be great for your “exposure.” Um, exposure? Excuse me, have you seen my global client list? I don’t need exposure.

It does happen all the time though. Yesterday a global luxury brand approached me ; they were having a critical leadership meeting, and wanted my insight into fast moving trends in their industry. But they couldn’t meet my fee requirements; as in many cases, I was out of fee range.

And of course, I said no. At this point in my career,I seem to be turning away 5 to 10 keynote requests *per week*. If you are a luxury brand, you stick with your value proposition!

Is this a gripe? Not at all – the situation often seems kind fo funny to me. Here you have a brand whose entire value proposition is based on the quality of the brand image, and the value of the product they deliver. High-end stuff.

So it is too with some of the leading futurists in the world. We know what’s coming next, and we can share our insight with you, but it will take an investment! (-;

 

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