How to Make Sure You Are Never Hired to Speak Again


Want to make a meeting planner crazy and ensure that your name will be next to a notation that says “never again”? Over the past few weeks, I have seen some speaker antics that just blow my mind and, fortunately, convince me that those who are professionals will always have a place at the table.


  1. Operate on your time frame and not the client’s. Insist that you cannot come down for rehearsal or microphone check before noon. It is just too hard for you to get out of bed.

  2. Ignore the deadline for getting in any slide decks or introductions. Carry your PowerPoint on a flash drive and arrive less than an hour before your appearance, assuming that it can just be uploaded and ready to go.

  3. Ignore the context for the meeting and the nature of the people in the audience. Besides, it is your story and the audience will just have to find their own linkage between your adventure in the Arctic and the world of real estate.

  4. If you are the closing speaker, do not listen to any of the previous speakers and make absolutely no attempt to tie in what the audience has already heard before your speech. And above all, make sure you speak without vocal inflection or body movement, so that the audience becomes comatose at the day’s end.

  5. Remember, take as much time as you need and ignore the time limit. The speakers after you will just have to make adjustments.

  6. Regardless of where you are in the program, remember to TELL and not show the audience. It’s up to them to use their imaginations. And make sure your slides are confusing, unable to be read, and require an MIT grad to figure out the chart you used.


------  Now that we've identified what makes for speaker horror stories, stay tuned for a subsequent post about what turns a speaker  into a solid meeting planner partner.  I'd like to think it's one of the things I strive to with my clients.

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