Why Me?

Why should you hire me to be your next Keynote Speaker? The answer to that question can be found in why I decided to become a professional speaker.

As the national president of the Association for Career and Technical Education it was my responsibility to attend the annual conferences of the state affiliates. These conferences typically had a highly paid professional speaker and me as speakers. The keynoter would open the conference and I would close it. Because of this, I had the opportunity to view a large number of different keynote speakers.

I observed some keynote speakers did not connect to the audience and their presentations just didn’t resonate. Some speakers had faked forced smiles and faked enthusiasm. They ran all over the stage and told lots of jokes but no one remembered the substance (if there was any) a week later. One of the “all star” professional speakers was so gimmicky it made one ill. At one point the audience was told to clap their hands at various speeds to “make the sound of rain.” What did that have to do with anything? I was not impressed with most of the professional speakers I heard,

After the conferences, I received copies of the conference evaluations. My presentations were rated substantially higher than the highly paid professional keynote speaker. At one conference a lady in the audience sought me out to say the presentation reminded her of the type of presentations they used to have at the conference – inspiring and motivational. She couldn’t wait for the start of the new school year because she was fired up.

One of the issues I have with a number of professional public speakers is that they seem intent on peddling a book they have written. At the end of the presentation the speaker sets up a table at the back of the room where they will sell you a book and autograph it. Even though I have published three books I never peddle (nor mention) my books.

One of the greatest compliments for a professional speaker is to be invited back to speak at the same venue. In 2011 I was invited to speak at the Chautauqua Institution in New York State. During the summer season, 7,500 people are on the grounds on any given day to hear a variety of speakers talk about a variety of topics ranging from politics to literature to the environment to economics and everything in between. I have been invited back every year since to speak in the Chautauqua Heritage Lecture series.

A number of professional colleagues have encouraged me to go on the speaking circuit. My presentations are entertaining, engaging, substantive and sincere. Since I am a retired university professor I have a nice retirement income and I don’t have to rely on speaking income to pay the bills. Thus, my speaking fee is a fraction of what is charged by professional speakers who rely on the income for their livelihood. I truly enjoy speaking, making new friends and traveling. That is why I do it. I would like to be your next keynote speaker.