Recognition is The Most Accessible Way to Boost Engagement
We know your job is far from easy; managing multiple stakeholders, juggling tight deadlines, always needing a few innovative approaches to elevate the attendee’s experience.
The last thing you need is a diva speaker with a hard-to-reach team and a million e-mails to answer. We strive to be ridiculously easy to work with, deliver knock-it-out-of-park experiences, and make you feel as important as your attendees.
Part of our secret sauce? Tami Adams, our Greatness Speaker Manager, with 10 years in the event management and bureau industry. She will ensure a smooth, easy, and efficient process because she knows what it’s like to be you. And you deserve that support.
You are greatness magnified and deserve to be treated so.
Sarah is a recognition expert, professional speaker, coach, author, recovering perfectionist, and movement maker. She created F.R.O.G. Forever Recognize Others’ GreatnessTM to invigorate companies so they can see their people as exceptional and, together, create a scrumptious, thriving culture where everyone belongs.
Sarah has 25+ years of experience training, coaching, and leading teams. From her senior leadership role, she founded her boutique firm Greatness Magnified. Proclaimed as the “Frog Lady,” she can be found freaking out perfect strangers (in a good way) by handing out squishy frogs and asking them, “Have you been frogged lately?” and then acknowledging their greatness.
She’s a Certified Senior Organizational Development Professional (CSODP), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL). She is one of 700 Certified Speaking Professionals (CSP) worldwide. She has a BA in Psychology, MSc in Family Relations, and Diplomas in Human Resources and Healthcare Administration.
You can catch her kayaking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter with her husband, or cooking a feast (while listening to an audiobook on double speed). She’s a die-hard carb-ivour, amateur hip hopper, and TikTok embarrasser to her two kids.
“Vanel” as in “Panel”
In a world where people feel overwhelmed at work, with ever-increasing demands for attention, and a decreasing level of satisfaction, we, in this audience, have a chance to change all that – today!
I have the pleasure of introducing you to Sarah McVanel. Sarah is a recognition expert, professional speaker, coach, author, recovering healthcare executive, part-time perfectionist, and movement maker of F.R.O.G. Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness. The one and only “Frog Lady” will energize you, tantalize you, and elevate you to focus on GREATNESS.
With 25+ years of experience, she invigorates organizations to see their employees as exceptional so that, together, they can create a scrumptious, thriving culture where everyone belongs.
Put away your phones, take out your notebooks, get your ears perked up … you’re about to enter a whole new world … a world of abundant appreciation, new discoveries, powerful affirmations, and a fun twist on what it takes to retain great people and, most importantly, create a retention ripple effect.
Get ready to take part in an exceptional experience for exceptional people. Without further ado, put your hands together and give a warm welcome to … Sarah McVanel.
Partnering with event professionals
for a delicious experience
You’re investing a lot of time, energy, and finances into your event. We wouldn’t be recognition experts if we didn’t see and honor that. That’s why we’ve combed our brains for our best tips for you to create delicious experiences for those you’re serving. Follow our advice and your audience will give YOU a standing ovation.
1. Invest in what matters
You have only so much to invest, we get it. But sometimes your dollars can be spent on the wrong things. Consider what will deliver the most value. Swag, posters, and logos can be nice; however, no one raves in the evaluation that the logo on a pen changed their life. Quality audio-visual and speaking professionals are essential, and this is equally important for live, virtual, and hybrid events. You’d never plan an elegant wedding in a 5-star hotel only to serve hotdogs and boogie down to your Uncle Fred’s cousin’s neighbor’s Spotify playlist. We’re here to help you create the ROI you’re accountable for and a memorable experience for your audience.
2. Hire a content expert
Do you need a speaker who knows a little about a lot or a lot about a little? You can find content experts who specialize in a specific industry, topic, or trend. They have the most relevant examples, updated data, insights on emerging issues, and often a new twist on old problems. In addition, content experts can serve beyond the keynote in breakout sessions, hot seats, Q&As, panel discussions, and bonus value to your sponsors. Let’s have a chat and explore how you can get the maximum benefit from our expertise.
3. Match the topic with a need
What is top of mind for those in the audience? What keeps them up at night? If you could wave a magic wand, what problem would you make disappear or opportunity appear? Pick the topic that addresses that. When you do, you’ll have raving fans (versus an audience of “prisoners”). Once you have landed on the juiciest topic – and this is important – work with your speaker to adjust the description, subheading, and learning objectives to reflect your audience, event theme, and reason for the event. Great speakers want to work with you to make sure there’s full alignment with what they can bring and what your audience needs.
4. Save surprises for your next party
Some surprises are good, but some are not. As speakers, we can attest to no one benefiting when there is a last-minute change to the chosen topic (that took 20 hours to prepare –- just saying) or a sudden realization that communication, at some point, fell into a black hole. When planned, your speaker can touch on key issues, incorporate juicy examples, skillfully reference sponsor products, encourage the use of conference apps and social media handles, and even get your jargon right!
5. Get devilish with the details
As they say, the devil is in the details, and your speaker can be a huge help. As opposed to telling your professional speaker how long they have, where they are on the agenda, and who is before or after them, why not have a chat about options? All of your speakers will have helpful insights about the ideal length and placement of their talk that can help you make key decisions. For example, as a recognition expert, Sarah kicking off your conference can allow for a juicy call to action to recognize as many people throughout your event in concrete and prolific ways.
6. Equip success
For a live event, think through the functionality of the space and where your speaker will be. Could there be noise from another room or event? Is everyone able to see the stage? If the room is large, do you need to rope off a section so you don’t have the speaker screaming to the back, busting the President and VP’s eardrums in the front row (there’s some magnetic pull for humans about the back of any conference room). Is there a comfort monitor so your speaker can see the slides as the audience sees them, a timer so your speaker won’t go over, a headset or lapel mic so your speaker can connect with the audience (versus being stuck behind a podium). Even if you’re an experienced event professional, exploring options with your speaker, as they know their program best, can help you make tough budget calls and delight the audience with a carefully curated experience.
7. You never get a second chance to make a first impression
As soon as someone takes the stage, from the president to the sponsor to the speaker, your audience is sizing up the quality of the event. Partner with your speaker to create a beautiful marriage between a well-scripted start and an authentically spoken introduction. Not everyone is a comfortable speaker, so the more folks are prepped, practiced, and resourced in advance (e.g., have the speaker’s introduction include the phonetic spelling of their name), the stronger the start. It also allows you to maximize your investment – you don’t want time being gobbled up by issues such as delayed starts, intros that go long, or a litany of dad jokes cutting into your paid speaker’s time allotment.
8. Maximize the impact
How long do you want the speakers’ messages to last? Given your investment in the event and speakers, you likely want to see some immediate change – mindset, action, habits, etc. Your speakers will have tools and materials to help ensure this happens. Whether it’s tip sheets and checklists, a book for everyone in the audience, or tools attendees can hold and use in the session, your speaker can partner with you to ensure maximum impact. There’s always a creative solution to be found, even if there is no formal budget line. Ask for what you want: bulk rates, bonus materials, even a few books to be gifted for prizes or sponsor gifts.
9. Phone a (speaker) friend
If you don’t plan a lot of conferences, ask your professional speaker for a planning call and resources to help you. Professional speakers would rather help you in advance than have to troubleshoot on the day of, or worse, fail to deliver an exceptional experience for you and your audience. Plus, hiring a professional speaker means they do this all the time (they’ve seen and heard it all!). They also have a deep network to draw from: AV experts, virtual platform hosts, event professionals, and fellow speakers. Need a recommendation? Guaranteed, they’ve got one!
10. Get to know how bureaus work with speakers
There’s a myth that if a professional speaker is booked through a bureau, the event organizer pays a higher fee. Bureaus act as brokers and partners, linking the right speaker to you. The speaker pays a commission to the bureau for organizing the logistics. If you’re working with a bureau, they can book any speaker you specifically request (who is on their list or not). If you’re not working with a bureau, you can book a speaker directly, through their contact page and details, and provide the same investment.
11. Be curious how to best sustain gains
How else can your speaker serve your organization or members with their expertise? An online course, consulting, certification program? When you’re booking your professional speaker, that’s the perfect time to negotiate additional ways to ensure gains are sustained. Most speakers want a long-term relationship with clients, so consider this only the beginning rather than a one-off booking. In fact, many event organizers have moved to booking the same professional speaker multiple times, for multiple groups, or for the same group to continue to deepen the message. You can negotiate the best rates while securing the greatest value by strategically planning your events, and the impact you want them to have, ahead of time.
One last thought. Any speaker is lucky to work with you.
Expect as much respect as you give your speaker, and never accept anything less. You deserve it.
After all, you are already greatnessTM.
Greatness Restored Barn
In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge we live, work, and play on the traditional territory shared between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Anishinabe nation, which is acknowledged in the Dish with One Spoon wampum belt.
That wampum uses the symbolism of a dish to represent the territory, and one spoon to represent that the people are to share the resources of the land and only take what they need. As Allies, we honor everyone of this land – past, present, and future – and recognize the value of listening, understanding, appreciating, and honoring the lives, traditions, and beliefs of all people.
“When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.”
– Oprah Winfrey
"It was a pleasure speaking with Sarah. I noticed her ability to communicate with people, with my wife and I walking away from her with a smile on our faces. To an expression I use often, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." That is Sarah in a nutshell."
Executive Director, MDRAO
Architect II, Healthcare, Canon Design
Director of Finance, Surerus Pipeline Inc.
Learning Coordinator, Meeting Professional International
Software Developer, PeoplePraise