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Food and Speakers: The Centerpiece of Any Event

By Tim Mathy | Aug. 8, 2017

Food. I love food! One of my favorite parts of traveling is getting to eat at amazing restaurants. When I go to Philly, Zahav is going to happen. Hello Girl & the Goat in Chicago. Vegas, how I love thy restaurants. I can go on and on. I’ll eat anything and love the experience. 

I booked Anthony Bourdain recently and he made a point that people now go to restaurants for the highlight of their evening, the movie or concert is secondary. I’m on board with this plan. If I have to miss a movie because I’m in the middle of a great meal, so be it. Feed me!

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This made me think of speakers. More and more speakers are getting creative with their presentation and are creating a masterpiece, just like Korean Tacos.

Some Event Professionals are stuck in the same routine, making the speaker a sideshow for the rest of the event. If you have a great speaker, ride that pony! Make the speaker the center of your event. Make him/her the pork dumplings at Din Tai Fung (look it up), a transformative experience that will make you come back for more.

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How do you make your keynote speaker the centerpiece of your event? 

Don’t shorten the keynoter’s speaking time. I know there is industry stuff to get done, but why shorten the time of the person you paid the most to be there?  

Use the speaker more! Have a Think Tank after they speak. Let them write an article for your industry magazine/blog. 

Greatly encourage your vendors to attend these presentations. Not only will they learn something, but the energy in the trade show will be better. Also, they will have something to chat about with their customers instead of just hawking their product.

I know it is a risk to give a presenter 45-90 minutes off the recommendation of someone else. Your reputation is at stake. You need to make sure the executives and attendees are thrilled. This is why you need to trust the bureau you work with. The first time I had lamb neck I was nervous, but now I love it and can’t get enough. Take me to Bestia in Los Angeles and I will order it every time. If I see it on another menu, Giddy Up! It is the centerpiece of a great night.

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Same thing with a speaker. You spend all this time trying to WOW your attendees. Let the speaker make you SHINE and showcase their talents.


Written by Tim Mathy
Tim has been with SpeakInc since 1996 and was made Partner in 1999. He is actively involved with Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), Meetings Professionals International (MPI), Worldwide Exhibition for Incentive Travel, Meetings and Events (IMEX), and serves as the SpeakInc. liaison to the National Speakers Association (NSA). Tim is a graduate of the University of San Diego, but also studied abroad in Oxford, England. He and his wife Jennifer stay busy chasing around their three children, Kyle, Daniel and Sarah. Tim can often be seen on the weekends coaching his kids in one of their many sporting activities. In his spare time he enjoys playing sports, a good game of hold-em and diving into the latest bestseller. He currently operates our Denver office.

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