Keynotes, Breakouts, and Workshops

It can be a confusing scenario: the overuse and misconstrued use of terms such as “keynote”, “workshop”, “breakout”, and “seminar”, each being interpreted differently depending on the individual or organization. The lack of a universal understanding of these terms has unfortunately led to a level of confusion that can be detrimental to speakers.

To mitigate such discrepancies, I often advise my clients to use a more universal term: ‘Programs’. The term ‘Programs’ is broad enough to encompass a variety of speaking engagements, from short 30-minute talks to full-day events. By adopting this terminology, you offer your services in a clear and straightforward manner that can be easily understood by potential clients, thus reducing the potential for confusion.

The importance of clear and effective communication can’t be underestimated, as evidenced by this cautionary tale. A few years ago, a well-known speaker I worked with consistently marketed himself as a ‘keynoter’ – no more, no less. He was puzzled as to why he was never invited to participate in breakout sessions after his keynote. It became evident that potential clients only engaged him for keynotes because that’s how he had branded himself. They were interpreting his self-description literally, believing that his skills and expertise were confined to delivering keynote addresses.

On my advice, he rebranded his offerings as ‘Programs’ rather than ‘Keynotes’. This simple change in wording had a profound impact. It allowed him to engage with prospects and clients in a new light, and they, in turn, began to see him as a multi-faceted professional with a broader range of capabilities. This nuanced shift in perception significantly boosted his business.

While this may sound too simplistic, I assure you it is an effective approach. By making this slight adjustment, you will be able to communicate the full breadth of your capabilities to your clients, giving them a more comprehensive understanding of your services. The result? A more successful, fulfilling speaking career.

Try it, and I am confident you’ll see the benefits. More importantly, your clients will appreciate this clarity, enhancing their trust in your professional capabilities.

Photo courtesy of John DeMato

Copyright MMXXIII Lois Creamer works with professional speakers who want to book more business, make more money, and monetize their message. She can be reached in the following ways
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