CHICAGO: If you’re trying to nab speaking opportunities for your client’s CEO or other top corporate officers, start out by making sure he or she has something interesting to say about industry trends or major business issues. And whatever you do, make sure he or she isn’t going to give a canned commercial about the company.
CHICAGO: If you’re trying to nab speaking opportunities for your
client’s CEO or other top corporate officers, start out by making sure
he or she has something interesting to say about industry trends or
major business issues. And whatever you do, make sure he or she isn’t
going to give a canned commercial about the company.
This was the advice given by officials from five major business forums
during a conference call earlier this month. The event was coordinated
by Best Practices in Corporate Communications, a DC-based consulting
’Executive communications is becoming such a big issue,’ said Brian
Heiss of Best Practices. ’It’s really amazing how much of a return on
investment these speeches produce.’
Representatives from key forums, such as the Chief Executives Club of
Boston and the City Club of Cleveland, said that recycled or
self-serving information isn’t likely to play well with their
’The key to our program is to get someone who is respected as a leader
and a newsmaker, and hopefully not that scripted in presentation,’ said
Peter Rollins, president of the Boston group.
Jim Foster, executive director of the City Club of Cleveland, related
the tale of a speaker who did nothing but talk about his bank -
thoroughly boring listeners in the process.
’A good program is interesting, substantive and timely,’ Foster
’I sometimes have public affairs or public relations people call me and
say ’We want to have our CEO at the City Club.’ They’ll say ’We have
20,000 employees and several billion dollars in sales’ and I’ll say
’Well, what’s he or she going to speak about?’ They don’t have an
Added Kaarina Koskenalusta, president of the Executive Club of Chicago,
’We want vision for a particular industry.’
George Dobbins, program director for the Commonwealth Club of San
Francisco, said that speakers should also be willing to be accessible
to media after their speeches. ’One of the main things we want is
directness and candor,’ he explained. ’We want honesty in terms of
telling us what the CEO will and will not talk about.’ Cleveland’s
Foster, however, said his club discourages speaking with the local
media before a speech, fearing it will dilute its impact and
Finally, club executives agreed that corporate PR people should be
willing to work with the clubs to get the maximum local exposure for a
planned speech, noting that clubs often have local media contacts that
a company lacks, and vice versa.