You want to protect your employee’s safety and adhere to governmental orders, but you also want to continue running a profitable business with happy employees. Thankfully, with the team building activities below, you can do both.

Read more

While business events came to a screeching halt for a few months, many organizations are now remembering how critical conferences are to their future (and revenue streams). For safety and convenience, these events are now online.

Virtual events aren’t new, but they’re certainly more prominent these days. Now, instead of worrying about swag bags or transportation arrangements, your primary concern is how to ensure that your audience comes away with a great experience, that they learn steps they can use right away to improve their performance, and that your event is memorable.

After all, your attendees have been through a lot, they are amazing at what they do, and they deserve an event that keeps them engaged and entertained… not just more hours wasted staring at a computer screen. They deserve a rockstar virtual emcee. 

Fortunately, if you’re looking to increase the energy of your event and improve the focus of your attendees, there’s an easy solution: hire a virtual emcee.

Read more

While this global pandemic has been difficult for individuals and businesses alike, there are several benefits that have come out of it. One benefit is that now we truly understand the power of virtual sales meetings and how easily we can conduct business remotely.

Unfortunately, many managers and leaders are not yet comfortable with technology and this will be obvious to your attendees. Virtual sales meetings that lack enthusiasm and substance are no better than their in-person counterparts. If you truly want to lead a team of rock star salespeople, you’ll need to energize them through virtual meetings.

Read more

While we are grateful for virtual conferencing technologies that allow us to maintain business as (sort of) usual, many participants don’t understand a critical component of it. Virtual meeting etiquette enables remote meetings to be productive and participants to walk away with exactly what they came for.

As a rock star leader, you not only need to know how to make the most out of a virtual meeting, but how to teach your team to do so, as well.

Want to help your team of rock stars stay strong together even when they’re apart?
Contact Marvelless Mark to emcee your next virtual corporate event!

Use an Appropriate Video Conferencing Tool

There are a variety of different platforms available for virtual conferencing. Before you select one, decide what features you need and what may be overkill. The best platform is going to be the easiest one for your attendees to use.

Come Prepared

Just like an in-person meeting, attendees want to know what will be discussed and for how long. Once you schedule a meeting, create an agenda and send it along with meeting details, including the date, time (and time zone), a link, and instructions on how to log on. Request that your attendees read the agenda ahead of time to prepare, and then remember that emails can get buried. If you are sending this well in advance of the meeting, you’ll want to send follow-up emails with the log in details or create a calendar event that provides the link. Make it as easy as possible and respect their schedule by ending on time.

Remove Distractions

If working from home, you and your attendees may have a variety of other distractions vying for your attention. This could include children needing help with homework, dogs barking, or spouses asking when you’ll be ready for dinner. Whenever possible, set up your work area in a room with a door and as little noise as possible. Then request that the participants stay on Mute until they need to share something.

It can also be really tempting to check your email or texts during a virtual meeting, so ask your attendees to put their cell phones away, stay focused, and stay seated throughout the call.

Speak Clearly

Technology is wonderful, but it isn’t perfect. Even rock stars do sound checks. Test your mic levels in the beginning of the call to ensure that everyone can hear you, but that you aren’t destroying anyone’s ear drums. Remind people that there is sometimes a several second lag, so they should pause momentarily to avoid speaking over one another. And seriously, don’t forget that Mute button. 

Look Professional

Working from home is fun, isn’t it? No need to brush your hair, shower, or change out of your pajamas. It’s great… until you have a virtual meeting. Then you just look unprofessional.

Whether you’re the host or a video call or a participant, it’s important to look professional during a video call. Wear business-appropriate clothing and make sure your hair looks presentable. While you may be tempted to wear jewelry, shiny objects can be distracting and earrings may rub up against headphones, making distracting noises.

Make sure that you don’t have anything offensive, inappropriate, or displeasing to the eye in view of the camera. This includes letting other people in your house know that you’ll be on a video call.

If your background is less than perfect, some of the virtual platforms allow you to set a backdrop. Last but not least, double check the lighting in the room to make sure that you won’t appear too dark or too bright.

Hide Personal or Sensitive Information 

Many of the platforms offer screen-sharing during the call. This can be great to show participants what you are working on or to use visual aids throughout your presentation. However, this can also go horribly wrong.

Be mindful of what you have on your desktop and make sure that you choose a fresh browser window when you decide to share your screen. This will prevent any personal information or non-work related websites from being viewed by your attendees.

Have Introductions 

One of the biggest challenges of virtual meetings is the lack of comradery. Thankfully, there are ways to get around that challenge to give your meeting more of an office atmosphere. Here are a few options:

  • Leave time at the beginning of the meeting for the presenter and the attendees to introduce themselves and have a bit of small chat.
  • Open the meeting room a few minutes before you are scheduled to start and leave it open when you finish so people can catch up.
  • Plan an ice breaker to loosen everyone up.
  • You can send people into smaller breakout rooms if need be.

Communicate Virtual Meeting Etiquette Expectations to Your Team

At the beginning of the meeting, let your attendees know what to expect and what is expected of them. Are they just there to listen or is participation requested? How long will the meeting be? Should they stay on Mute and raise their hand if they’d like to contribute or can they jump in at any time? 

When you explain virtual meeting etiquette and share any specific expectations you may have, attendees will know what to do and your meeting will flow more smoothly.

Virtual Meeting Tips 

Now that you understand virtual meeting etiquette, there are a few tips that may help you make your online meetings even more productive.

  • Record the video so people can review the content later, and those who couldn’t attend can catch up when they’re available.
  • Send out meeting minutes and a recap answering any questions.
  • Be kind. Not everyone is tech savvy, and while this shift is perfectly natural for some, others may have a great deal of difficulty.
  • Realize that it’s more challenging to make your presentation more engaging and more interactive, but different video conferencing platforms have different types of tools, such as polls and chat boxes.
  • Remind participants that depending on the platform, their private chats can be viewed by the host once the meeting has ended.

Maintaining a connected team can be challenging when virtual meetings are your primary way of interacting. Thankfully, when you and your team know proper meeting etiquette, you can rest assured that your home-based rock star team is just as engaged in the meeting as they would be in the office.

Just like it’s true in business, it’s true for a band: If you want to drive change and achieve your goals, you have to surround yourself with the right kind of people. You want to create the right kind of culture and relationships that allow everyone to effectively work together. But synergy like that doesn’t happen by accident. Job descriptions and interviews must be thorough. Applicants must know your vision.

Want to keep your team of rock stars together through a crisis?
Let Marvelless Mark help you with team building to make your organization stronger than ever.

Do you know what Steve Jobs’ business model was? During a 2003 interview with “60 Minutes,” Jobs said, “My model for business is the Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”

There are three concepts that rock star business leaders need to learn and understand about working together as a band, especially in time of a crisis.

First, put the band first. It’s that simple. Our good friend Steven Tyler of Aerosmith said, “As good as I am, I’m nothing without my band.” So, but the business first. During these crisis days, co-workers may have new needs and they should not be ignored.

Second, honor everyone’s unique abilities. In a band, some people are up-front and very noticeable, like the lead singer. Others, like the bass player, barely get noticed at all. A smart rock star business leader makes sure that everyone in the band gets recognized.

Do you know who Bill Wyman is? No? How about Mick Jagger?

Wyman was the bass player for the Rolling Stones. When interviewed about the Stones, Jagger repeatedly spoke about Wyman’s talent as a bass player. That’s why the Stones are still together. (They’re all eligible for AARP, but they’re still together!) 

The same is true with your business. You have to allow each person to showcase his or her skill and then honor that person for his or her contribution. It’s been said about the Rolling Stones that Jagger makes them famous, while Keith Richards, their guitarist, makes them a band. Some of you successfully market your business, while others make it work on a day-by-day basis. A rock star business leader realizes that everyone plays a vital role for the success of the business and everyone should be valued for that part. During this pandemic, some workers may move to the forefront to meet new challenges. 

The third concept that we need to learn and understand about working together as a band may sound a little unusual coming from rock stars: There’s no room for egos. Let’s take the advice of Grammy Award winner and producer Quincy Jones. He worked on the USA for Africa project with more than 40 A-List artists to produce the song “We Are the World.” While the song was being recorded, Jones put a sign on the studio door that read: “Check your egos at the door.”

Ego is almost always what breaks up a band. Some bands like U2 endure and become legendary, while other bands cease to exist. What keeps a band together is humility. A band — or business — leader with confident humility and who is not overcome with ego knows that the band is better together. A rock star business leader is one who is receptive to suggestions for improvement and will take time for self-reflection, listening to the feedback that he or she gets from the other band members.  

The bottom line during this crisis is that we need each other now more than ever. We need to be honest, transparent, have an open line of communication, and celebrate with our bands when this crisis ends. In the words of Brian Tracy, “Success comes before work only in the dictionary.”  Performing together in these three ways will create success, whether in a crisis or normal working conditions.

You’ve been tasked with planning an event for your organization. Maybe it’s the first event you’ve ever planned and you want to prove yourself to upper management. Or perhaps, you’ve been doing this for years but there’s something extra special about this conference. Either way, you want to make sure that the event is unforgettable and that your attendees walk away with excitement in their eyes and a “wow!” on their lips.

You’ve already considered the date, the venue, and the theme, and now it’s time to find the perfect keynote speaker to kick off your event and motivate your audience. They’ll have to be entertaining and you’ll still want your audience to walk away with content they can put into action once they get back to work. With a strict budget in place, the question on your mind now is, “How much is this going to cost us?”

Looking for an electrifying keynote speaker for your next event?
Contact Marvelless Mark for an unforgettable experience!

How Much Does a Keynote Speaker Cost?

Before we discuss how much a keynote speaker costs, let’s discuss the value they bring to your event. A motivational speaker sets the tone for your event whether it’s just an afternoon away from the office or a multi-day conference designed to set up success for the next year. They will engage your audience, get them excited about the upcoming program, and motivate them to take action once they’ve left the event. Six months, 1 year, or 10 years after your event, attendees won’t remember the food you served (unless it caused an outbreak of food poisoning), but they will remember a great keynote speaker.

It would be wonderful if there was a standard fee you could expect to pay for a keynote speaker, but this doesn’t exist within the speaking industry. While there are certain (approximate) tiers for speaker cost, there are a variety of factors that affect how much a speaker charges and how much wiggle room you have for negotiation. Keep in mind that your budget should always be a primary concern when selecting a speaker and this is one area in which you should never skimp. Chances are, you can find a quality speaker within your budget, or offer up other benefits to negotiate with a speaker in a slightly higher price bracket than you can afford.

Related: What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Motivational Speaker?

Factors That Affect Standard Speaking Fees 

So what factors determine how much a keynote speaker charges and what can you do to attract the best on a better budget? Here are several questions that will impact the cost: 

Are they an experienced keynote speaker? 

If they are just starting out, they’ll command a much smaller fee than someone who has been keynoting for 30-40 years.

Are they experienced in their industry?

While they may be new to speaking, they may be a true expert in their field with years of experience, books written, and a sizable platform.

Do they have to travel? 

Keynote speaking requires a lot of travel and many speakers are willing to offer their services for less if they get to sleep in their own bed at night. 

Will they be selling anything during their program? 

Are you providing them with the opportunity, the audience, and the time and space to sell their product or service at the event? If so, they may be willing to charge less since they’ll be making up for it in sales. 

Will you pay in full up front? 

Some speakers are willing to discount their price if you send them a check for the full amount at the time of booking. 

What type of organization are you? 

Many speakers will offer a nonprofit discount for smaller nonprofit organizations.

How big is the event?

Some speakers will charge based on the size of the audience with smaller audiences commanding a smaller fee and larger audiences costing more.

Are you offering any other perks?

Depending on the type of gig, a speaker may charge less if:

  • It’s an audience they want to get in front of
  • You’ll provide professional video
  • You’ll give them a testimonial and good referrals for future speaking engagements
  • They were planning to attend the conference anyway
  • And more…

Related: What Makes a Good Keynote Speaker?

What Is a Typical Speaker Fee?

Now that you understand what factors can affect pricing for a keynote speakers, let’s look at some of the common tiers within the industry: 

Free or for Travel Expenses Only: 

This may apply to a new speaker with little to no experience or someone who expects to make more during their program through the sale of their products or services. If they are the latter, they’ll likely only accept this option if they are in front of their ideal client who has the need and ability to buy from them. 

$500 – $5,000: 

You’ll attract newer speakers within this range and can expect to pay a fee within this tier for a small to medium-sized conference.

$5,000- $10,000: 

This is the fee for speakers who have given many keynote speeches and worked in the industry for many years.


If you’re planning a major conference, you should expect to be shelling out a fee in this range. You’ll be looking at superb professional speakers who are no stranger to keynoting large conferences.

$20,000 – $50,000: 

In this range, you’ll find motivational speakers in the top rung of their industry all the way up to celebrities like actors, musicians, and sports stars.


If you’re looking to bring in a current or ex-president, or someone like Richard Branson, you should expect to pay top dollar. 

Remember, the keynote speaker and the message they share is one of the most (if not the most) important aspects of your event. While all the other details will factor in to an unforgettable conference, it’s most important to find a quality keynote speaker who will communicate what you hope to communicate. Your speaker should energize and engage your audience, and motivate them to be the business rock stars you want them to be. This will ensure that your audience leaves feeling like they can take on the world and take your business to new heights.

A few years ago, I was working a gig in Minneapolis when the client treated my wife, Jana, and I to a VIP tour of Prince’s Paisley Park. While I’ve always touched on Prince during my Opportunity Rocks Experiential Keynote Presentation, after this tour, I could easily create an entire speech based on him. Prince’s dedication, passion and commitment to his craft can teach us all how to run a successful business.

Want to bring out the inner rock star of each person on your team?
Contact Marvelless Mark for a team building experience like no other!

What Your Business Can Learn About Productivity from Prince

Here are five lessons you can learn from Prince to become a business rockstar.

Stay Focused

One of the first things you notice when you visit Paisley Park is that there are very few windows. No, Prince didn’t hate the outdoors. He just knew the importance of focus when there’s a job to be done. If he knew what time of day or night it was, he was afraid he’d be tempted to take a break. There were no clocks to disrupt his creativity and sometimes he’d play for hours or even days without a break. 

Are you watching the clock waiting for the business day to end or do you get so wrapped up in your business (because you’re so passionate) that you can work until all hours of the night without losing interest?

Take Pride in Your Finished Product

Prince was self-taught and obsessive about getting it right. He recorded his vocals from inside the studio’s mixing room instead of in the studio. This way, he could adjust and mix his own vocals. He also had a whole movie studio where he recorded much of Purple Rain, Under the Cherry Moon, and Graffiti Bridge. These studios gave him total creative control over his music and his movies so he could be proud of the finished product he put into the world.

Do you skimp on time or money with your products or services? Or, do you do everything in your power (including working with the right vendors or trusting your team) to ensure that your customers get exactly what you intended?

Related: How to Change a Negative Work Culture For the Better

Make It All About Your Customers

Prince loved his city and he loved his fans. Oftentimes, he’d invite anyone who wanted to come for a party. There was always entertainment, food, and something to do at Paisley Park. After a long day of practicing or performing, he’d often show up around 3 am because he knew how important it was to connect with and honor his raving fans.

Do you treat your customers like an inconvenience or like beloved fans?

Overcome Every Obstacle

During his legendary performance at Super Bowl XLI in the pouring rain, the producer asked, “Do you want to cancel? Is there anything we can do for you?”

Prince’s response… “Can you make it rain harder?”

No matter what problems he faced, Prince rose above them to bring his fans what they wanted and deserved.

Do you see challenges in your business as insurmountable roadblocks or do you welcome them as opportunities for growth?

Commit to Becoming a Master of Your Craft

Prince had separate video editing and viewing rooms with multiple monitors and camera angles. During practices and video recordings, he and the band would review their performances, choreography, stage presence and music. No matter how big he got, he always wanted to get better.

Have you plateaued with your skills and your business or are you constantly learning and perfecting your craft?

When Eric Clapton was asked many years ago what it’s like being the greatest living guitar player, his response was, “I don’t know… ask Prince.” Prince became the powerhouse he was because he had a rockstar mindset. If you want to succeed in business, take a page out of Prince’s book. Stay focused, take pride in your finished product, make it all about your customers, overcome every challenge, and commit to becoming a master of your craft. When you do that, you’ll live on in your fans’ minds long after you’re gone.

“Take care of each other and make sure you always dance.” – Prince 

Sales meetings are important for your teams, yet your salespeople usually dread them. Why? Because when meetings are bland, redundant, and unfocused, your team will resent them (and you). After all, they’d rather be out selling than sitting around a conference table and they can’t wait to get out of that room.

Now imagine a sales meeting that has your team so fired up, they can’t wait to get out of the room… for a very different reason. They’re not bored. On the contrary, they are excited to put what you’ve taught them into practice and blow their goals out of the water. 

Doesn’t that sound better? 

There’s an art to hosting successful sales meetings that your team members will look forward to. You’ll need to be concise, look to the future rather than rehashing the past, and most importantly, you need to provide value. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your team’s time. 

How do you create a sales meeting that rocks? Read on for some tips to make your meetings unforgettable (in a good way). 

Want to electrify your sales team during your next event?
Contact Marvelless Mark for an experiential motivational speaker!

How Do You Have a Successful Sales Meeting?

There are some specific rules you should follow to ensure that your sales meetings are as productive as possible. 

Identify the purpose

Before you schedule a meeting and plan the agenda, figure out what you want to accomplish with this time. Are you teaching your employees something new? Brainstorming new ideas for a product launch? Perhaps you’re congratulating your team on a job well done and motivating them to reach new heights. No matter what your intention, make sure that you have a clear goal in mind for the time you’ll spend together. 

Determine if you actually need a meeting

You’d think this goes without saying, but in many offices, meetings are something you have because you “should” have them, not because you actually “need” one. Before calling a meeting, figure out if you actually need to interrupt everyone’s day or if this is something that could be handled with a quick email or a walk over to one or two specific employee’s offices.

Create an agenda and send it out ahead of time

If employees have the opportunity to review an agenda before stepping into the meeting room, they’ll be able to prepare whatever information you need and any questions they might have. Additionally, they’ll understand the flow of the meeting and what will be covered and will also know how long to block out of their day.

Provide educational or motivational value

Even if your meeting isn’t specifically focused on education, you’ll want to provide something that will help them increase their sales. That way, even if you do have to cover something that perhaps doesn’t pertain to everyone in the room, they’ll still walk away feeling as if they’ve learned something that will make them better at their jobs.

Make it interactive

No one wants to be lectured to. Create a format for your meetings that encourages participation from everyone in the room and gives them the opportunity to voice their questions, concerns, and ideas. Keep in mind that when you do this, you’ll also need a way to get people back on track if they start to derail the meeting. Consider a “Parking Lot” where you can write down ideas that need to be revisited at another time or place. That way, employees feel heard yet you don’t lose control of your meeting.

Related: The Best Sales Kickoff Ever in 9 Steps

How Do You Motivate Your Sales Team in a Meeting?

If you’re looking to motivate your sales team during meetings, there are a few aspects you should include (or exclude) each time you meet.


There’s a good chance that your team has been working together for a while, however, if a new person happens to join the crew, you’ll need to allow for short introductions. Give each person 20-30 seconds to say their name and something interesting about themselves like “if you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?”

A quick recap of how they’re doing

Emphasis on the “quick.” If the team is doing well, celebrate the win. If the team could be doing better, identify where the challenges are and find a way to support them towards their goals. Always keep it positive, no matter how they’re doing. Screaming at your team and threatening their jobs is not a motivational technique and it will just end with them losing respect for you.

Create space for team members to provide positive feedback on one another

While it’s great for you to tell your salespeople how they’re doing, getting a “thank you” from their fellow employees will go a long way to motivating them. Perhaps they helped out another salesperson with a deal or provided support in some way. Give them time to share. 

If there is a weak link, talk to them outside of the meeting

As you review your goals during the month, you may identify one or two employees that are really struggling to meet their goals. Rather than calling them out in the meeting and embarrassing them, speak to them privately and arrange for a more successful salesperson to act as a mentor. 

11 Motivational Sales Meetings Ideas to Fire Up Your Team

Once you’ve gathered your team together, created a structure, and identified your reason for holding the meeting, how do you keep their attention and motivate them to be the sales rockstars you know they are capable of?

1. Make it about them

Yes, ultimately your salespeople work for you and should have the best interests of the company at heart. However, if you don’t give them a reason to care about the company and the products, they won’t be motivated and they won’t be loyal. 

2. Address common objections they face

Chances are, your salespeople all hear similar objections as they go through their sales days. Brainstorm a way to overcome these objections with their sales pitch or identify if there really is a challenge with the product that needs to be addressed.

3. Provide training for new products

When a new product or service is released, make sure that your sales people have the knowledge and experience necessary to sell it. Provide demos, allow them to test out the product for themselves, and teach them all of the features so they aren’t left staring like a deer in headlights when potential customers have questions.

4. Teach new skills

Perhaps the product has changed and your salespeople may need a refresher course on the basics of selling. Or perhaps there’s a new technique that you can show them to improve their closing rate.

5. Answer questions

Keep an open floor for sales people to ask questions about products, commissions, challenges, etc. 

6. Share best practices

You may not have all the answers, but other people in the room might. Ask the more successful salespeople to share their best practices and what they’ve done to get where they are.

7. Identify their differentiating factor

What makes your product different than others on the market? What about your company? What about your salespeople? Help each employee figure out what it is that makes them different so they can stand out above the crowd. 

8. Create your ideal customer avatars

Perhaps you have one specific “ideal customer” for all of your products and your people, or maybe they would each resonate with a different type of customer. Find out who your employees would like to target with their sales and help them clarify how and where to find them.

9. Identify roadblocks and uncover solutions

Once again, the answers to improving your sales may be in the room. Allow salespeople to voice their concerns and brainstorm solutions with the group.

10. Provide customer feedback

Good or bad, testimonials and reviews can provide a font of information for your team members. Read them aloud and congratulate employees when it’s appropriate. When it’s not, see the complaint as an opportunity to improve.

11. End the meeting with positivity

Even if your team isn’t producing the way you hoped, leave the meeting on a high note. If they exit the room with their tails between their legs, they won’t be motivated to do better. If you give your sales team hope and leave them excited, their performance will likely improve. 

Sales meetings are incredibly important, but be careful about falling into a meeting rut that has your employees nodding off in their chairs. Make your meetings purposeful, succinct, and valuable for employees and you’ll inspire their inner sales rockstars!

Work events happen. Maybe your company has its annual team building retreat, or a favorite organization is hosting a benefit for a charitable cause. Whatever the situation, you have been designated to find that special keynote speaker to spark interest or motivation to the audience. Here are some guidelines to help you in your search for a definitive keynote speaker; one you hope will truly inform, entertain and inspire your audience to action.

Want a keynote speaker that will truly rock your audience?
Get Marvelless Mark to bring his experiential motivational speaking to your next event!

What is the Purpose of a Keynote Speaker?

Usually, when a manager books a keynote speaker for an event, there is an underlying motivation, beyond filling a spot for a speaking engagement or providing basic entertainment. A good keynote speaker serves to bring professionals together under a common company theme, motivating them, while presenting a sense of a networking community.

A thoughtful and experienced keynote speaker can be quite beneficial to a company event. When you provide the speaker with the topic and desired outcome, the result can provide the audience with a sense of ownership and community. Keynote speakers can:

  • Improve employee morale
  • Be a neutral voice on a company topic
  • Reintroduce and reinforce company policies and values

Related: What are the Benefits of a Keynote Speaker?

What are the Traits of a Good Keynote Speaker?

While the reasons you may want to book a keynote speaker are endless, you want the end result to be positive, successful and satisfying for both you and the audience. What exactly are the traits of a good keynote speaker? Here are seven traits that can help you identify a good keynote speaker.

1. Use appropriate, humorous anecdotes

It can be difficult to keep the attention of an audience at the best of times. A good keynote speaker can spice up a speech with real life anecdotes that are relevant and connect to the speech’s message. Well-placed humor, sprinkled lightly throughout the content, is well-received if presented tastefully.

2. Stay true to the nature of the speech

A good keynote speaker will not deviate from the message. Sometimes speakers will slip in shameless self-promotion of their products or availability. A professional, reliable speaker would not feel the need to give in to that temptation. Their delivery is testament enough of his or her vocation.

3. Keep the audience in mind

When delivering the speech, does the speaker convey the message in such a way as to elicit a response from the audience? Does the keynote speaker end the speech leaving the audience with thoughts to ponder? Does it motivate them in such a way as to answer the call to action appropriately?

4. Limit the use of props

The most effective key-note speakers follow the KISS principle. That is, they keep the content and supporting visuals as simple as possible. Nothing kills a presentation more than having a power point presentation of 30 slides accompany a 30-minute speech. Maybe 10 slides would have been better, with the speaking part only 20 minutes.

5. Make valid, real life connections

No one wants to hear boring, statistical redundancies in a presentation. The key-note speaker should research the intended audience and have the appropriate experience or credentials to weave in real life stories within the speech’s main body. If possible, these should come from within the company’s own staff or networking community. This would provide familiarity and promote ownership.

6. Keep moving along with appropriate pacing

A good keynote speaker should present a copy of the speech for you to review. Note the pacing of the story. When delivering the speech, the speaker will know when to pause appropriately and when to ‘speed it up’ based on audience reaction.

7. Deliver the goods with a call to action

The main reason a key-note speaker delivers a speech is to prompt the audience into responding to the message’s call to action. What that call to action looks like should be determined by you and the keynote speaker before the speech has been finalized. 

It could be something as simple as participating in a Q and A segment of the presentation, whether during or post. Or, it might include participating in a company survey. It all depends on when and how the key-note speaker elicits an emotive response.

What Makes a Good Keynote Presentation?

A good keynote speaker is only as good as their speech. With so many types of speeches, what separates the good content from the ineffective? Here are some ideas to consider.

The audience is taken along on a journey

Nothing bores an audience more than a bunch of statistics. To be taken on a journey means one must have an identifiable beginning, middle and end, much like a story. Words should flow, not only with the pertinent message, but should also strike a chord within the audience.

Begin with the ending in mind

It has been said that a good story is one that if you start reading the first sentence of the first page and next read the last sentence of the final paragraph, and it makes sense, it is a well drafted tale. Much can be said the same of a speech.

 A well drafted speech should begin and end with a call to action. If presented with humor and feeling, the audience will make a connection and become motivated enough to follow through.

Make the speech available on multiple platforms

 Just as there are diverse learners with multiple learning styles, the presentation should be available on multiple platforms. Some of the various venues include webinar video and audio recordings, .pdf files, flip look-book with powerpoint slides, and downloadable formats to smartphones and android devices.

How Long Should a Keynote Speech Be?

Keynote speakers will be allotted a specific amount of time in which to give their presentation. Too long, and the presenter runs the risk of losing the audience. Too short, and the audience may not find value or relevance in the content. So where is the happy medium?

Thirty minutes from first word to last action. Let the first 5 minutes be a warm up and an ice breaker. The total time for the speaking part of the speech should be no more than 20 minutes. The last 5 minutes should anchor the message and deliver a satisfying conclusion.

Keynote speakers are as numerous as sand on a beach. Good keynote speakers understand the message you want to impart, stay on topic and do their best to deliver relevant, thoughtful and emotive content. In short, a good, effective keynote speaker delivers the goods.

You’ve never expected work to be perfect. You understand that with deadlines to meet, quotas to reach, reports to write, and different personalities to deal with, the office won’t be a magical place all the time. However, lately you’ve been noticing some really unpleasant interactions at work, your sales numbers are down, and you may have just witnessed an employee scoffing at the Company Culture plaque in the hallway.

You know something’s wrong, you’re just not entirely sure what the problem is. And without understanding the problem, you won’t be able to fix it. You know it won’t get better if you don’t address it. So how do you improve the situation?

Looking for a way to improve your organization’s work culture?
Contact Marvelless Mark today for an experiential motivational speaker.

Signs a Workplace Is Toxic

You’ve heard the term “Toxic Workplace Environment” before and you’re concerned that this might be what’s affecting your team. If you’re noticing any of the following signs amongst your employees, you might have found the problem.

  • High Turnover – While there’s always some employee attrition, frequent turnover can signal a problem.
  • Frequent Sick Days – Everyone gets a stomach bug occasionally and mental health days can help employees be more productive, but if they are constantly calling in sick, there may be a bigger issue.
  • Looks of Dread – You can’t make everyone happy all the time, but if your employees have a hollow, hopeless look to them day in and day out, something is wrong.
  • Poor (or No) Communication – You’ve attempted to keep an open door, but lately, employees aren’t stopping by to talk as much as they used to. And when you approach them, they aren’t eager to share.
  • Whispering – Employees will always talk to one another, but if you’re noticing high school-esque cliques developing and hearing whispering by the water cooler and rumors in the break room, there’s a problem brewing.

What Causes a Toxic Work Environment?

While you may want to place blame for the current situation on your employees, your higher-ups, or even on yourself, a toxic work environment can begin at any level of an organization. One thing is for sure… it spreads quickly.

There are several factors that can play into this type of environment or culture. We’ll begin with problems at the managerial level and then work into employee-driven toxicity.

Toxicity from Leadership

 1. Leadership hasn’t taken the time to identify and communicate the company’s core values.

These values are what guide your decisions and your employees’ behaviors. If you don’t take the time to outline how you want employees to behave, and you haven’t then shared this information with them, they won’t have the guideposts necessary to act in the proper way.

2. Leadership isn’t exhibiting the company’s core values.

Remember the old saying “Do as I say, not as I do”? Today’s employees do not subscribe to this outdated way of thinking. Management at every level must behave in the manner they expect their employees to behave in. If they don’t, those core values are nothing more than wall decor.

3. Management refuses to adapt.

Technology changes, industries change, and employees change. If managers dig their heels in and refuse to change with the times, resentment will build and breed a toxic culture.

4. Management treats employees as disposable.

If an employee doesn’t feel valued or appreciated, and even more so if they are repeatedly told that “people are waiting to take your job,” they’ll develop an antagonistic relationship with leadership and be unwilling to perform their best.

5. Management refuses to invest in their employees.

When good talent isn’t given the opportunity to grow and move up, they react in one of two ways. Either they run to the next opportunity, or they stay in their current position but become resentful, angry, and brooding.

6. Leaders aren’t communicating with employees.

It’s disheartening to do a job for weeks, months, or even years, without any feedback. Employees need to be met with on a regular basis to check in on their performance and goals, and to create a plan for growth within the company. If they aren’t doing something correctly, the sooner it can be addressed, the less likely it is of becoming an issue later on.

Toxicity from Employees

7. They feel “passed over.”

Not every employee is deserving of a raise or promotion. However, if they don’t understand (or aren’t told) why they weren’t promoted, they’ll be angry and mistrusting. After all, why work hard when they could just be passed over again?

8. They fight change.

Change can be difficult to accept, and while it is management’s job to prepare employees for any major changes, some employees just find it difficult to adapt to new situations. Some can be helped through these transitions while others will never adapt. 

9. They weren’t trained properly.

Most employees want to do a good job. However, onboarding procedures and training often leaves much to be desired. An employee that hasn’t been properly trained to do their job will feel anxious, self-conscious, and eventually, resentful of the organization as a whole.

10. They aren’t right for the role or the organization.

Hiring the right talent is an art. And no matter how well your company has mastered the process, every once in awhile, someone is bound to slip through the cracks. If one of your employees is the source of the workplace toxicity, you’ll need to reevaluate if they would be happier and more productive in another role within the company using different skills, or if they don’t exhibit your organization’s core values (regardless of what role they play) and will need to be let go.

Related: Stuck in a Rut: How to Break a Sales Slump

How to Change a Negative Work Environment?

While you may be working in (or even fostering) a negative or toxic work environment, there is hope. With the right changes, you should be able to turn the culture around and restore a positive, productive work environment.

1. Figure out the problem

As you’ve seen, there can be many causes of toxicity in the office. Identifying the problem (or problem employee) will help you deal with the issue as quickly and painlessly as possible.

2. Take responsibility

Whether the problem resides in management or elsewhere, accepting responsibility will allow you to make the necessary changes. If you actually address the problem with your staff and apologize for your role in it, your employees will appreciate your honesty and be more likely to accept their own responsibility in the situation.

3. Right the wrongs.

If core values have not been established, take the time to identify them. If they have not been communicated, share them with your staff. If employees haven’t been properly trained, arrange the training they need. If they haven’t been encouraged or appreciated, correct the situation. You can’t change the past but you can create a new future.

4. Open the lines of communication. 

If you haven’t already, reach out to your employees. Provide a safe space for them to voice their challenges without fear of judgment or losing their jobs. And don’t just listen to their opinions, actually take them to heart. When they’ve had a chance to share what’s bothering them, turn the conversation to different ways you can turn the environment around as a team. You may be surprised by the practical ideas that come from your employees when they are given the opportunity to brainstorm and become a part of the solution. 

5. Reestablish trust and teamwork.

As you go about fixing the challenges facing your team or organization, you’ll need to change the way employees relate to one another and to management. A motivational speaker and teambuilding expert can take your employees through exercises designed to improve relationships and create new connections. For an experiential training that will keep employees engaged (not to mention having a blast), consider hiring Marvelless Mark Kamp to teach your employees to play like a band rather than solo artists.

Related: What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Motivational Speaker?

A toxic work environment can be created by many different factors, however, the outcomes are always the same: disheartened employees, higher turnover and costs, decreased sales, and poor attitudes poisoning workplace culture. Thankfully, it’s not too late to turn the situation around. By applying the techniques mentioned above, you can help restore a peaceful, positive environment to your organization and ensure that your employees are happy, productive, and selling like rock stars.