Posts Tagged ‘Peter Vidmar’

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Every 4 years, in early August the world turns their attention to the Summer Olympic Games. This is an exciting time for sports and non-sports fans alike. Coincidentally, it is an important event for the professional speaking industry. Over the years, some of the most sought after motivational speakers on the circuit had first come into the national spotlight at the Olympic Games. Mike Eruzione, Jim Craig, Mary Lou Retton, Sugar Ray Leonard are just a few examples of Olympic athletes who have become cornerstones of the speaking industry.

The Speaker Experts have been in the speaking industry going back to the 1984 Olympic Games.  A lot has changed in the world of professional speaking since then, but one thing has not…the Olympic Games generate a great deal of demand from meeting planners that are vigorously looking to enhance their events by securing an Olympic athlete. Of course, the interest was demonstrated via phone calls and letters, while today it is demonstrated by emails, tweets, and texts.

This Olympic year has proven no exception. We have already received speaking requests for Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles and Maya DiRado. Scheduling an Olympic athlete to speak or appear at your upcoming event can be a great experience; however, you need to have a clear understanding on your desired outcome and goals for the appearance in order to make the most appropriate selection.

If your goal is to capture or take advantage of the Olympic spirit by securing a world class speaker, your best option will be to explore a former champion. While speakers like Peter Vidmar, John Naber, Scott Hamilton, and Vince Poscente may lack the name value of Olympic athletes who are competing in Rio this week, they are seasoned professional speakers who have crafted their speech and message having appeared before hundreds of groups.You can expect to find great options in this space in the $30,000 and under fee range. We often forget that these legacy athletes have a compelling backstory to go with their Olympic experience.  Therefore, we suggest a short high energy introduction video to bring these speakers on stage.

If your goal is to create excitement, increase revenue via attendance/sponsorship or drive attendees to the exhibit floor, securing a current champion could be an option, but there are a number of considerations. The first consideration is that generally younger athletes are not experienced professional speakers. They have spent their lives perfecting their craft and not a speech.  While there are exceptions, we would suggest a Q&A format with a professional moderator to bring out the best in the athlete.  The second consideration is cost. The top tier athletes for the current games can command fees in the six figure range for a short appearance. Finally, not every athlete will be available to appear at your meeting.  Many Olympic athletes will continue on to future competitions, return to a full-time job, or continue their education.

Conclusion:

Scheduling a speaker with an Olympic background can add value and create excitement at your next event.  When doing so, it is important to have a clear understanding of your expectations for the speaker and the session.  Although, this month’s Olympic gold medal winners will bring instant name value and cache to your stage, it is not always realistic to ask them to give a polished 50 minute keynote speech. If you are looking to capture the Olympic spirit with a world class professional speaker, look towards an older athlete who has a proven track record on the speaking circuit.

Tip:

The 2018 Winter Olympics takes place in Pyeongchang, South Korea from February 9th through the 25th. If you have a meeting during this time period, as Olympian hockey player, the Great Wayne Gretsky used to say, “Skate to where the puck is going to be,” and consider scheduling a Winter Olympic Champion to speak at your meeting.  Contact your IASB member speaker bureau to discuss your speaker options in this space.

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin

 

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