How to write a kick-off speech that rocks

Corporate christmas and kick-off events are always accompanied by a number of speeches. While some speakers embrace the opportunity to have their say, their audience might be enthusiastic about this part of the program. Many speeches are long, boring and contain many standard phrases. To prevent you audience from falling asleep during your kick-off event, I have searched for rules that make great speeches. This year, you will hold an awesome speech with these great tips.

Blog Holland Speech

The length of a perfect speech

It might be tempting to put all statistics, successes and failures of the year into one speech. Speakers, who love the sound of their own voice have the habit of talking to long. However, the attention span of your audience is not long enough to follow you all the way. Did you know that US President Lincoln, one of the most popular speakers, held speeches of less than two minutes? Try to capture the key emotions and ideas into a compact message of not more than 10 minutes. Your audience will be grateful.

The opening of a perfect speech

Most openings are pretty standard. They start off with a flat joke and many acknowledgements to all possible partners and sponsors. As a consequence you lose your audience right away. Abandon such formalities and get to the point right away. Introduce your topic with a personal anecdote that illustrates your central message. You can also open with a startling statistic that relates to your company and build your message on it. Whatever method you choose, it is important that you reach your audience right away, grab their attention and talk to them as if you were in a personal conversation.

The content of a perfect speech

Don’t just speak to because it is expected of you. Don’t write one of these standard speeches, which can be given any year. Prepare your speech especially for this special occasion to bring across this special message. Try to sum up the central development of the last year in one or two sentences. This is the foundation and the red line of your speech. Use quotes, outstanding examples and happenings to underline this message. Your speech should not be educative, analytic or logical, because it is not meant to celebrate you or your company. It is meant to thank your employees for their great efforts, motivate them to keep the good work and face all challenges with a smile. It is perfectly okay to speak to larger causes and ideals as long as you answer the hopes and needs of your audience.

1453 Martin Luther King Jr Speech

End strong with your speech

Aside from the opening, your last line is the most important line. Therefore you should end with the message you want people to remember. It is perfectly okay to steal some words from another brilliant speaker, as long as they have a connection with your company.

So, are you ready to write your very best speech this year? Let me know if you have any more tips or ideas about this. Good luck!

Organize your workspace for better performance

How organized is your desk? As a typical Dutchman I have to admit that I never wasted much time to tidying up my desk. As a consequence I collected much clutter in my workspace that distracted me more than I could have imagined. Does this sound familiar to you? Let’s clean the mess together. I collected some tips to get rid of it.

Blog Holland Desk

How clutter impacts your brain

Scientific research has shown that excess things in our surroundings can have a negative impact on our ability to focus and process information. Some of us get inspired by chaos because it stimulates creativity. Nevertheless, when it comes to concentration, clutter only competes for our attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.

Start with an empty desk

Take everything of your desk and out of your drawers. Put all stuff in a big box, put the box in a closet and go back to work. Every time you need an item, you can put it back on your desk. Are there things you still have not used after a week? Get rid of them, since you probably don’t need them. As you go through your stuff, ask yourself: does this item have a purpose? Do I really need it, or am I keeping it because I could need it once? After asking these questions you will know what to do.

Create a clever flow

When you have decided which stuff you want to keep, you need to find a place to keep it. Logically, you want quick access to the items you use very often. Organize your desk drawers I such a way that the important tools are in the drawers next to you, and the rest further away. At the end of your working day, take care that all items are back in the right drawers. Don’t leave them on your desk and let them pile up.

Find your trouble spots

Still not satisfied with the result? It can be hard to look at your workspace objectively and identify how cluttered it is. This perspective might change, when you watch it through your camera. The photo will show you things, you never saw in the real world.

What’s your tip?

Are you an expert for organized workspaces? Then I want you! Do you know some clever tricks to keep you desk tidy? Please share them with me.

Let me sing for you at #EIBTM : what’s your favourite song?

Only 2 days to go and we will see each other at EIBTM in Barcelona, right? And as you might know, I love to sing too. Together with my band, I will be performing live during the Happy Hours at the Holland Meeting Point (J300).

Today me and my band were reviewing our playlist. And that’s when we started wondering what your favourite song is. Please let us know and, if it’s within our capabilities, we will play it esspecially for you!

What to expect?

Of course I will playing my own song “Loosen up!”:

And you know I live the Beatles too:

Sharing is caring!

Now, maybe you don’t have a favourite song you want me to play, but your friends or colleagues might have one. So please spread the word and help me create the best playlist you have ever heard!

My 4 favourite ‘orange educational sessions’ at #EIBTM : what are yours?

In almost 2 weeks we are all heading to Barcelona for EIBTM. EIBTM is the leading global event for the meetings, incentives, events and business travel industry, held in the vibrant destination of Barcelona. The event delivers three days of focused access to a dynamic business environment, thought provoking professional education and business networks for all attendees.

Last week I posted in the EIBTM Linkedin group the following question:

EIBTM Education: what is your ‘must attend’ session? Why do you attend EIBTM? Also for the eductational sessions? Have you marked your favourites yet? Let’s share: which session(s) are you planning to attend?

I then started browsing the educational programme and asked myself: what would be my ‘must attend’ eductional sessions if I look at this through my orange sunglasses? Who are the Dutch industry professionals who contribute to this program?

These are my top 4 ‘orange picks’. Please let me know what your favourite sessions are!

1. Hybrid: Hands On!

Reach out to the 80% of your target group who aren’t attending your event by thinking live & online. Get the essence of hybrid event in a 30 minutes non-techie hands-on guide. If you’ve heard about hybrid events but think they compete with your live event, this is your session!

Topics: what hybrid events are, why they are booming, dos & don’ts and tips for your first steps.

Dutch Speaker:
Gerdie Schreuders, Online Event Designer, Social Media Coach and Virtual Emcee at LiveOnlineEvents BV
Date/Time: 27 Nov 2012, 11:30-12:00
Location: The Future Events Experience

2. Listen & #Daretogive: Social Media in meetings & events

Gerrit Heijkoop will take you on a journey that will grow your confidence in how to approach new social technologies when organizing your next meeting or event. During his session he will help you understand the new ‘ground rules’ of online Social Networking. He will explain why Social Media are such powerful tools around live events and meetings.

Based on real-life case examples, Gerrit will guide you through several ‘Social Scenarios’. A ‘Social Scenario’ is a combination of a storyline, tools and operations, specifically designed to support a certain business process. This will make it easier for you to determine whether you should consider Social Media at all for your next meeting or event, which resources you need, what to do with them and how to get results.

Dutch Speaker:
Gerrit Heijkoop, Executive Partner, and Social Network Consultant for Events & Conferences at How Can I Be Social (HCIBS)
Date/Time: 28 Nov 2012, 15:30-16:30

3. Practical Examples of Sustainability in Action

As a recent winner of the UFI Sustainable Development award, the Amsterdam RAI have a lot to talk about when it comes to sustainability – leading the way in addressing social, environmental and economic impacts.  This session will outline some practical examples of how the RAI are acheiving sustainability success.

Dutch Speaker:
Babs Nijam, Business Development Manager at Amsterdam RAI
Date/Time: 28 Nov 2012, 16:00-16:30
Location: Sustainability Stand M750

4. EIBTM Technology Watch Award

The EIBTM Technology Watch Award is the most high profile and longest running technology recognition scheme for innovation in the global meetings and events sector, offering an invaluable opportunity to rising stars within the industry. Chaired by Corbin Ball, the judging panel is looking for companies to demonstrate new and innovative technology solutions that can make a significant difference to the industry.

Dutch Jury member:
Ruud W. Janssen, Marketing Entrepreneur at The New Objective Collective (TNOC)
Date/Time: 28 Nov 2012, 17:00-17:30
Location: The Future Events Experience

What is your favourite pick?

Would love to hear in the comments if you agree or disagree with my favourites. Or please add your own personal favourite too!

My 3 favourite sessions of #HSMAIMEET : what are yours?

Last week I explained in my post why I am reviewing the agendas of our industry’s events. So this week I will take a look at the HSMAI Meet National on Wednesday and Thursday in Washington. Organized by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), the event aims to attract 1,800 planning professionals from organizations of every size, plus 250 exhibitors. Also, this year the event has a new name: “the evolution of Affordable Meetings”

I am looking forward to following their stream via the hash-tag #HSMAIMEET. And of course, I started browsing the programme and asked myself: what would have been my ‘must attend’ sessions if I could have been there?

These are my top picks. Please let me know what your favourite educational sessions are, were or would have been!

1. FREE Technology to Manage Your Events Easier, Better at Lower Cost and with Greater ROI

Why favourite?
You might be aware that the Dutch are very cost-effective. So if there is anything for ‘free’, I want to know more about it! And seriously, the internet offers so many great free utilities to make your meeting planning job easier. You should definitely also check out our ‘Holland ‘Venue finder‘, our ‘Meeting deals‘ and our free ‘Meeting CO2 calculator‘.

Session description:
That’s right !  Free software. This program will introduce you to a half dozen free conference and expo management software programs and apps that can help you do your job quicker, easier and at little or no cost to your program. Read more.

Speaker: Michael Hatch, President HATCH Marketing & Consulting LLC
When: Wednesday, September 5, 2012, 9:45 – 10:15 AM (GMT -5hours)

2. Get the Most Out of Your e-RFP

Why favourite?
Maybe you have noticed already, but we are collecting e-RFI’s and e-RFP’s as well (click on this link and you will find our submission form). Although me and my team manage to return these requests quickly and complete, of course we would love to learn about tips to do this smarter. How are you dealing with your RFP’s by the way?

Session description:
To get the most out of your eRFP, you have to include the rest of the alphabet.  Think a-to-zRFP if you really want to see the results that your hard work deserves.The fact is, most hotels have seen a 300% increase in their lead volume over the last 5 years while the close rates on RFPs have plummeted. At the same time, meeting planners are experiencing an unprecedented decline in hotel responsiveness to their RFPs, where late or incomplete bids are now the norm. Read more.

Speaker: Mike Mason, ZEO
When: Wednesday, September 5, 2012, 10:30 – 11: AM (GMT -5hours)

3. A Quick Look at the Future of Meetings Through the Eyes of Stakeholders

Why favourite?
As I explained in my earlier post, the whole purpose of following all these industry events is to get a grasp of what the future will bring. So this session should definitely be of value in determining just that!

Session description:
Maritz Research conducted a comprehensive study of meetings stakeholders to gather their views on the future of meetings in four key areas: meetings technology, social media, meetings venues, and meetings design. Dr. Rick Garlick, Senior Director of Strategic Consulting from Maritz, will share the key observations of this study provided by over 1600 respondents including meeting planners, suppliers, speakers, and attendees.   Included in the research topics are the emerging role of technology in virtual and face-to-face meetings, new ways of thinking about meeting design, social media and its multi-faceted role, and future expectations of venues. Read more.

Speaker: Rick Garlick, Director of Consulting & Strategic Implementation Maritz Research
When: Thursday, September 6, 2012, 10:30 – 11:00 AM (GMT -5hours)

What is your favourite pick?

Would love to hear in the comments if you agree or disagree with my favourites. Or please add your own personal favourite too!

My favourite session at the Elite Meetings Alliance event (#EliteMtgsAlliance ): Increasing your Professional Power

People have been asking me: “Mr. Holland, why do you post your favourite sessions of an industry event every week?“. Well, let me explain. It serves 2 purposes. First of all, I always want to learn more about what is at the ‘front side’ of our industry. And of course I would like to exchange ideas about that with you, my reader. So please feel free to comment on my selections.

The second purpose is more long term. By reviewing the educational programmes of our industry events, I will have quite a good grasp of what the trends in our industry are by the end of this year. And of course I will post those findings back to you!

Today is the start of the 3-day Elite Meetings Alliance event in Atlantic City. The Elite Meetings Alliance provides prequalified corporate and association planners and leaders in the luxury hotel industry an opportunity to participate in prescheduled one-on-one meetings. The event agenda also includes continuing education classes for Certified Meeting Professional credits, fun networking events, and a variety of activities.

I am looking forward to following their stream via the hash-tag #EliteMtgsAlliance. And of course, I started browsing the programme and asked myself: what would have been my ‘must attend’ session if I could have been there?

This is my top pick. Please let me know what your favourite educational session is, was or would have been!

Increasing your Professional Power while Managing your Stress

Why favourite?
People from Holland are known to for their professionalism as organisers. Thanks to their ample experience in organising conventions, you may rely fully on our professionals for the organization of your international convention or meeting. The Dutch organisers are friendly, pragmatic and decisive. Yet, I am curious to learn from Dr. Teplitz how to increase this ‘professional power’ even further.

Session description:
This presentation addresses the specific situation of the stresses we experience as result of both expected and unexpected change in our lives. And the one certainty for the 2000’s is that the rate of change will continue. Participants will learn techniques that will enable them to cope with the stress of change more productively and effectively.

Research shows that we use less than 10 percent of our brain power. Imagine the difference in your life as a leader if you and the people around you could access more of this hidden potential. The session gives you actual tools for achieving unlimited leadership growth by unleashing the power of your mind.

Speaker: Dr. Jerry Teplitz, Jerry Teplitz Enterprises, Inc.

What is your favourite pick?
Would love to hear in the comments if you agree or disagree with my selection. And of course I would love to hear any tips you use to manage your stress and increase your professionalism.