Recently Corporate Meetings & Events magazine asked me to contribute an article responding to the question “How can the speaker’s presentation go beyond leadership theories to provide practical applications for my audience?” Following is my response. I will admit to more than a little bias in providing this advice!

If you go to and search the books section on the word “leader,” you’ll be presented with a selection of over 240,000 books! That’s a big reading list! The choice today can be equally daunting when it comes to choosing a speaker to help audiences improve their leadership. And like the selection of leadership books, speakers come in a wide range of styles and approaches. They also range from beginning speakers with little experience to grizzled veterans who have earned every one of their battle scars, grey hairs, or square inch of expanded scalp skin.

The big challenge for meeting planners is to match a speaker’s style, experience, and approach to their audiences. Keynote speaking is in the midst of a major transition. Many audience members have heard and forgotten dozens or even hundreds of speakers. Some of the better ones have entertained and perhaps provided a welcome humor break from serious meeting business. Other good speakers have brought relevant experience that educated and stretched listeners to apply new approaches. But the best – and rarest – speakers have “edutained” their audiences with a rare combination of both humor and powerful insights.