Motivational Speakers South Africa|Recommendation|Event Planning Tips
Before jumping headfirst into the search, here are six considerations that can make or break your event.
If you are in such a head-spinning hurry with no time to read this article, then you are welcome to check out this award-winning motivational speaker recommendation.
By deliberating over these critical success factors, before you book a speaker, you can put together a showstopper event.
Checklist Before Booking Motivational Speakers in South Africa
- Establish your event purpose and theme first
- Put together a draft agenda
- Determine your event’s technology needs
- Choose the venue mindfully
- Opt for an experienced MC or chairperson
- Consider an award-winning speaker
Careful consideration of the following critical success factors will chart the course to an awesome corporate conference.
The first five are non-negotiable, the sixth is optional. The way that you proceed (or not) can mean the difference between back-patting or eye-rolling at your event.
1. Establish Your Event Purpose and Theme First
Only an impactful event with memorable experiences will make the investment worthwhile.
Maybe it’s a bit boring to kick off with a cliché, but Benjamin Franklin’s quote will always ring true: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”. Frequently event organising begins with a long “to do” list as opposed to first clearly clarifying the purpose. On other occasions, it’s a leap straight into a theme with no thought to spare of how to align the overarching objectives.
Christian Nahas poses questions about the purpose that cut right to the heart of the matter: “To plan and execute a great event, you need to first ask yourself, ‘What is the purpose of the event?’ and ‘How will I engage, attract and close, and follow-up with my audience around that purpose?’”  So, figuring out the purpose a week before the event is predictably an embarrassment in the making.
Meticulous homework and rock-solid research ensure successful conferences which include your choice of motivational speakers in South Africa. Depending on the size, duration and geographical area of the event, planning should ideally commence a couple of months in advance. It is vital to get a definite direction from the management of the company. Everyone has to put on their thinking caps at the very outset.
Once the overall objectives are carved out, it’s a good time to drum up a creative and unifying theme.
It goes without saying that all actions must take place within the boundaries of an approved budget. Every organisation has got a different budgeting procedure which will be initiated at the appropriate time.
In the corporate world, there is a pipeline of typical events:
- Team building
- Sales conferences
- Product launches
- Management retreats
- Gala functions
- Client meetings
- Annual incentive and award ceremonies
Some of the characteristic objectives include combinations of the following:
- Raising of company morale
- Training of employees
- Relationship building between employees and managers
- Creating connections and facilitating networking
- Cementing of core values
- Celebrating results and hard work
- Engaging employees meaningfully
- Rolling out new strategies
- Communicating change etc.
2. Put Together a Draft Agenda
A value-adding conference starts with a well-deliberated agenda – one that is welcoming, engaging and digestible. The common enemy of events is the unceasing information overload. Plan in advance to not submerge delegates in data dump and force-feeding.
The number one mistake in event planning is arguably to overpack the programme with presenters, content and activities.
People stumbling over one another to make it in time for the next session is less than ideal. Break-away sessions competing in an over-full schedule is problematic, to say the least. On condition that only the best and most important make it onto the agenda, less is always more. Not enough can be said about knowing what you want to achieve before structuring the agenda. In terms of what to do early on, Jamillah Warner explains that you should “be clear on why you are doing it in the first place because every decision after that should support your main goal.”  Mapping out the content and flow of the programme early on makes for a more calculated final agenda.
The tone of any event should always be inspirational, irrespective of whether you book motivational speakers in South Africa or not. This puts across optimism and solidifies camaraderie. Also, don’t underestimate the value of a relaxed atmosphere.
An efficient agenda is an antidote for a chaotic conference, especially when it gets to two and three days. The lack of systematic design (right down to the minute) would unsurprisingly translate into disorganisation. Understandably, all kinds of emergencies do happen in the real world. A speaker might fall ill and cancel the speaking engagement. A venue might cause a blunder and make a double booking. That is why it is advisable to always have a plan B and C in place. Basic risk management contingencies will never be a waste of time.
In terms of the flow of the programme, the logic of some event planners is debatable. They would opt for energetic activity-based slots in the morning and maintain that motivational speakers will keep the crowd “awake” in the afternoon. At best, this is not an optimal use of the agenda. It should be exactly the other way around. Motivational speakers in South Africa (or anywhere for that matter) have limits to what they can achieve. Have inspirational speaker sessions in the morning when conference goers are hopefully more rested. If possible, launch into stimulating activities in the afternoon when the audience is tired. Oxygen creates wonders for a sluggish afternoon.
Keep decision-makers abreast of event planning progress and secure their buy-in along the way. The draft agenda will then transform easier into the final one.
Only a few days before the conference and still working from a provisional agenda is not good enough. Extinguishing last minute fires are stressful if incoherent planning is to blame. When the ducks are in a row, there is no need for antacid tablets. At large conferences, things get trickier, as delegates might attend different sessions. These go by many names but usually, a “general” or “joint” session is where everyone is together. This is where the best presenter line-up should feature and where motivational speakers in South Africa customarily fit in. During break-away sessions, attendees move to different locations and more focused topics.
If resourceful event templates can be of any help to you, here is a whole stable of them – totally free. You can choose downloads such as a Planner, Schedule, Marketing, To-Do List, Proposal and Budget.
Here is a list of how you can utilise these templates for your upcoming event:
- Identifying strategic elements e.g. objectives, target audience and messaging.
- Determining logistical details such as catering, programming, and audio-visual requirements.
- Mapping out who is responsible for each task, required actions, and deadlines.
- Listing locations, program start and end times, and scheduled breaks.
- Indicating PR, advertising and market research.
- Managing overlaps on the schedule.
- Visual layout for time slots and items.
- Prioritisation of what to do when.
- Itemising expenses and data in visual charts
And for what it might be worth: Presentations during lunch time are just plain silly.
3. Determine Your Event’s Technology Needs
Many top-notch ones are available on the market:
- Agendapop – Features include polling, agenda design, venue maps, ratings, social media incorporation, photo posting and chatting.
- Attendify – Translate data into an elevated experience for delegates with appealing options and registration pages.
- BusyConf – Bringing registrations, schedules, agendas and proposals together.
- Certain Touchpoint – Collect key data and create purposeful connections with participants via mobile devices.
- CrowdCompass – Integration that saves time and synchronises information from your registration site.
- Crystal Collaborate – Provide conference goers with the chance to voice opinions namelessly in order to positively interact and challenge one another.
- Eventory – Software for management, marketing, planning and a social platform. The analysis of attendee behaviour can be leveraged e.g. how they responded to the motivational speakers in South Africa that you had on the stage.
Practically speaking, “technology” still refers to the “audio” and “visual” at a conference.
By and large, it is still the usual gremlins that cause headaches and create frustration at events.
Zach Inglis and Laura Sanders share suggestions and examples such as “microphones not working, laptops not connected to the projector”. Without a shadow of a doubt, they propose the best solution: “so having a skilled person there to fix issues as soon as they arose was invaluable.”  Sporadically, more attention is spent on colourful drapings at a corporate event than what is happening on stage. Technology can launch an event like a rocket or make it crash like a comet.
Presentations are the most important part of a conference, not peppermints on the chairs.
Even the most experienced motivational speakers in South Africa can be ruffled by technological glitches. Don’t neglect the basic audio, visual and room requirements and inadvertently set your presenters up for failure.
A few “tech” reminders might be of value:
- Select good quality data protectors (high lumens).
- Be a supporter of common sense and get the lights above the screen removed.
- Double-check that your electronic equipment is compatible with that of the venue. If you have hired any of the motivational speakers in South Africa, don’t forget about theirs.
- Make it convenient for presenters to see their presentation in front of them. If not, most will regularly turn their backs to the audience to consult the screen. A strategically placed conference laptop will do the trick perfectly. A more sophisticated, but expensive option is a “comfort monitor”.
- Device batteries running flat without replacements available is a horrendous oversight.
- The availability of a wireless “presenter” or “clicker” to change slides is always popular with presenters.
- Make sure that everyone is able to see the white screen. Don’t disappoint those who sit at the back. Everyone should be able to read the slides and see the screen clearly (even over the heads of others).
Check the sound, microphones and speakers. It is not helpful to have an ultra-modern lavalier microphone, but low-quality speakers “popping” all the time.
4. Choose the Venue Mindfully
So far, there should be a match between the event’s purpose, theme and technological specifications. The next piece of the puzzle is the choice of venue.
There is a whole host of elements to be kept in mind. Here is one example. Sweltering heat and the lack of air conditioning do not go together if you want to run a productive conference. In discussing the selection of a venue that integrates with the theme, Rachel Grate mentions that if “you align your venue and your theme, not only will your event feel like a breath of fresh air, you can be guaranteed it will be talked about for months to come.” 
A good few questions and more can be asked about the pick of venue:
- Is the seating capacity adequate e.g. 50, 100 or 150?
- How important would luxury and convenience be?
- Does the infrastructure correspond with your techno and presentation needs?
- Is the availability of Wi-Fi a priority?
- What is the match between your theme and the potential venue?
- How central or distant can the geographical location be?
- Is the availability of security something to keep in mind?
And don’t forget about proper catering. Tasteless food leads to a flavourless conference.
5. Opt for an Experienced MC or Chairperson
Someone must keep the conference or meeting on track and promote a positive atmosphere. This is where a seasoned MC or chairperson can come to the rescue. Countless events get everything right, just to go off the rails because no-one maintains “order” to keep things polished.
There might be no one in charge. Or the captain is asleep at the wheel, afraid to make tough calls or plainly incompetent. The second easiest way to spot a run-away conference is when everything is going over time. The easiest way to see this is when the audience gets punished with shorter (or no) tea breaks and a rushed lunch. The dominoes have started to fall… An MC stands for master of ceremonies (sometimes spelt as emcee). This person is in charge of the microphone – the king of the stage. A master of ceremonies communicates the flow of the programme and introduces presenters. These are only two aspects of a potentially long list of responsibilities. This person must be able to “perform each of these tasks in a timely fashion, ensure a seamless transition between sections of the program and keep the event moving at a steady pace within time constraints” says Tina Amo.  A good choice of an MC is someone who is skilled in public speaking, humorous and good at making smooth transitions. This individual can do introductions, recap presentations and make announcements etc. Motivational speakers in South Africa often double-up as MC’s, so it might be a cost-effective option to think about. The event outcome to be achieved by an MC or chairperson is for a pleasant atmosphere, efficient flow and energetic pace.
6. Motivational Speakers in South Africa: Consider an Award-Winning Speaker
A compelling video trailer of a keynote speaker is, again and again, the clincher for event professionals.
An article on meeting trends succinctly states that “Typically, motivational speaking presenters are utilised by executives or meeting planners look to set a specific tone for a program, galvanize heightened interest in occasions, or inspire teams by sharing authoritative insight and/or outside perspective”.  Speaking performance does not appear overnight – it is honed over the span of a career and blended with real business experience. Well-versed motivational speakers in South Africa each convey their own unique themes, entertaining styles and distinct personalities. At the core of your conference programme, they can play an impressive part in an awesome event.
- When It Comes to Events, Define Your Purpose and ROI First / auth. Nahas Christian. – [s.l.] : Clickz.com, Accessed on 14 January 2019.
- 42 Tips for Producing a Memorable Small Business Event / auth. Warner Jamillah. – [s.l.] : Smallbiztrends.com, Accessed on 15 January 2019.
- How to Plan and Run a Great Conference Experience / auth. Inglis Zach and Sanders Laura. – [s.l.] : Smashingmagazine.com, Accessed on 15 January 2019.
- How to Choose a Memorable Theme for Your Corporate Event / auth. Grate Rachel. – [s.l.] : Eventbrite.com, Accessed on 15 January 2019.
- Master of Ceremonies Job Description / auth. Amo Tina. – [s.l.] : Work.chron.com, Accessed on 15 January 2019.
- Meeting and Event Trends: How to Choose a Keynote Speaker / auth. Steinberg Scott. – [s.l.] : Parade.com, Accessed on 30 January 2019.