Clients have not hesitated to ask me to develop keynote speeches from scratch in light of unique circumstances which their audience faced. Often these circumstances arise from some wholesale disruption in the industry or the world in general.
Here are three descriptions of situations of this nature.
In the immediate wake of the 9-11 attack, the Federal government created the TSA and organized it hurriedly to get air traffic back to normal as quickly as possible.
Understandably, in rushing the organization into existence, there was little time to systematically design management systems. A year later, TSA planned a national conference of middle and senior managers to put a plan in motion to professionalize the administration's management community.
Planners asked me to keynote the conference and present a broad overview of management issues which begged for correction. To design the speech, I interviewed TSA managers at airports and administrative centers all over the U.S. These findings were then compiled into a set of consensus opinions which became the content base for the presentation.
The IMA is a professional association of men and women whose management positions charge them with oversight of corporate accounting systems. Many of them worked for companies and non-profits which confronted unprecedented cashflow and asset management challenges following the economic collapse in 2008-2009.
Having never faced a downturn of such magnitude, many members of the IMA were feeling overwhelmed by this predicament. They were needing informed perspectives on how to cope with the tasks before them, manage their personnel effectively, and keep morale high within their staff.
A nearby chapter asked me to address these needs in a keynote at an upcoming regional meeting. Over the course of six weeks, I interviewed veteran professionals within their group, gathered their best wisdom on what counsel to give, and used this input to formulate the crux of my presentation.
As the economic downturn deepened in the aftermath of the global economic debacle in 2008-2009, small businesses struggled to survive.
Particularly hard hit were independent business owners who operated self-storage facilities. In the slower economy, demand for rental spaces dropped. Banks tightened requirements for loans and lines of credit. And property values tumbled.
The largest association of self-storage property owners in the nation approached me about keynoting their state convention and addressing how to manage in tough times. By interviewing key figures in various parts of the state, I identified the most discouraging issues, uncovered ingenuous ways in which certain owners were tackling these problems, and put together a light-hearted, but information-rich keynote for their conference.