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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Preparing For and Doing Your Talk Onboard (Part 3 Lessons from an actual cruise)

The time has come to do your talks. First, how will you learn about when you’ll do your presentations?

As a general rule you will only give your presentations when you are at sea or on “sea days.” At your meeting with the activities coordinator and he or she will sometimes tell you “about” when your talks will be. Sometimes the activities coordinator will call you the evening before or the morning of your talk.

But don’t count on it.

The absolute best way to know when your talks are scheduled is to closely monitor the daily onboard newsletter which will be delivered to your cabin every evening. This is the ultimate authority on when and where you will present.

Next, you must show up at least 30-miuntes before your presentation. If you are unsure of exactly which venue you will present in, go a few minutes earlier to find your way in plenty of time.

Once you arrive at the venue confirm that all of your equipment is there. Note: Don’t freak out if the equipment is not there. Many times the Audio/ Visual Technician won’t arrive with it until 15 minutes before you are to start. If he or she has not arrived by 10 minutes till, call the activities coordinator and advise.

To build rapport with the audience I will greet and introduce myself to them as them enter the venue. I’ll ask their name, where they are from, how they are enjoying their cruise, etc.
For the talk itself I usually use a short PowerPoint program or a follow-along guide (described in Speak on Cruise Ships ) or both.
Clearly, you must not only know your material but you must be enthusiastic about sharing it. Another crucial thing is to introduce yourself and let your audience know how you got to be standing in front of them. In this intro it is crucial that you describe as many common threads as possible. In other words, you want to show that you have much in common with members of your audience. For example, you have common interests, common experiences, have made similar observations, etc.

I will also incorporate as much light humor as my topic will allow. People absolutely adore speakers who can make them chuckle. Similarly, I will use a variety of audience participation strategies like allowing questions and observations throughout my talk and will even incorporate games or role plays where I’ll bring someone up on stage and role play with them. It’s all good fun and gets your audience to invest in the program.

For information on what kinds of programs the cruise lines are seeking and how to put them together I refer you to my Speak on Cruise Ships e-program at

At the end of my talk I will always thank them for coming and, using my discretion, I will suggest that if they liked the program that they should tell the cruise lines about that fact when at the end of the cruise an evaluation survey is distributed to them.

That’s it for this installment. Watch for the next one, coming soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What to Expect The Day You Board The Ship (Part 2 Lessons From an Actual Cruise)

The time has come for you to board the ship and start your cruise. Here’s what to expect on the day you sign on.

First, you’ll make your way to the port. Once you arrive at the pier you will proceed to the “pier coordinator” or some such other like titled person. You will present your speaking contract that you probably received two months to two weeks before your cruise. Your contract usually has a booking number and the pier coordinator will check to make sure you are on the ship’s manifest. You’ll sign on and be given keys to your cabin.

Once you arrive in your cabin you’ll usually find a letter for you on the desk or bed. Open and read this letter. It will welcome you onboard and provides directions about when and where to meet with the cruise director or someone form the cruise director’s staff. This meeting will generally be scheduled for later that afternoon or evening.

You’ll probably be tired after your journey. So take the opportunity to freshen up before the meeting. Arrive on time. Here’s your objectives:

1. Be cordial and charming. Take the opportunity to ingratiate yourself. Let them know that you are flexible and offer to do another program if they need. Let them know that you are aware that their plans may change or bad weather may cause a port to be missed so they may have need for another program or a repeat of a previous program. Emphasize with the needs of their position and make it clear through your actions and words that you are there to make their job easier.

2. Confirm your equipment needs if you have any i.e., projector, etc. Also, confirm whether an AV person will be there to assist you.

3. Plan out the logical sequence of when you will conduct your talks. For example, that a destination talk on Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is planned for the day before your stop there and so on.

4. Last, make sure to obtain the beeper or telephone number of the person you are meeting with in case something goes wrong either before or during the talk.

5. Now enjoy your cruise…

That’s it for this installment. If you are still not approved to cruise with onboard enrichment programs. What are you waiting for? Get my critically acclaimed program Speak on Cruise Ships: 8 Easy Steps to a Lifetime of Free Luxury Cruises at

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cruise Ship Speaking: Lessons From An Actual Cruise (Pre-Cruise Preparation)

Note to reader: This series is derived from the program notes of a video production intended for my current Med cruise. The article presumes that you are already approved with cruise line enrichment programs and you are in the process of developing at least one new destination driven program. Such is my experience this cruise.

Cruise ship speaking is hugely rewarding. Not only can you get free luxury travel but it is also a great way to promote you and your business ashore. To really do it well and succeed there are some things that need to be done beforehand. This article covers some of those details you’ll need to prepare for pre-cruise.

If you are cruising to a new destination and need to develop a brand new destination driven program specifically for the new itinerary consider:

1. Before you start work in earnest make sure that you have ran your new program idea by your contact at the cruise line. No sense putting any effort into the topic if it is a flop before you start. Important note: If you want to know why destination programs are so important and how you can put them together even if you are not an expert in the destination then check out my program Speak on Cruise Ships: 8 Easy Steps to a Lifetime of FREE Luxury Cruises at

2. Make sure to give yourself plenty of preparation time. To pitch the cruise lines on your new destination topic all you need is a catchy title and bullet points written in the specific way I outline in Speak on Cruise Ships. But once you have the go-ahead with your topic you’ll need to finish any research you may need to really make your destination topic shine. There is no substitute for good preparation which can take some time. Give it to yourself.

3. Now research to your heart’s content. When I first started it usually took me two to three days to complete the research for a brand new destination talk; now it takes me about 90 minutes.

4. Once I have my research completed I then craft my presentation into the finished product that I deliver onboard. If the presentation lends itself I usually use PowerPoint for my presentations but only following these guidelines.

a. Words only appear in the title (three words max.).
b. There’s an appropriate picture on every page that conveys the message for the main points I wish to communicate.

c. I don’t read from PowerPoint I only use it to augment what I am doing from the stage and I keep the focus on me as the speaker.

d. Generally speaking 22-24 PowerPoint slides gives me enough material to cover 45 minutes. Note: There is usually an additional 15 minute question and answer period after your program.

5. On every new program I do I practice at least once before I deliver it onboard. Even if I’m very familiar with the content I’ll still gather up my family members and do the presentation for them. This is a good way to work out any bugs and also test-drive the time it takes you to do the program. Time onboard (or with any speaking gig) is crucial. If you are given an hour you take at max 60 minutes and not a minute over. Using these tips will make you pre-cruise activities more effective and drastically increase the probabilities that you will succeed once you climb aboard.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We're Off To The Med - What It Means For You

Today my son Jamey and I are hopping the pond to Barcelona, Spain. I am speaking on the Brillance of the Seas on a 12-day Med cruise. We embark tomorrow. But this blog is not about telling you about my travels; it's about how you can cruise free too serving as an enrichment presenter for the cruise lines.

So here's what this cruise will mean to you...

Jamey will be capturing many of the the details of cruise ship speaking by video taping me as we go (this will later be developed into a product). But I'm going to publish my program notes for that video project which will point out some of the lessons covered in the video.

I really want to give you a taste and flavor of what its like to do one of the best (and most fun) gigs in the speaking business. This video will be as reality based as it gets... it should be fun!

I'll publish them as often is as feasible for the Internet service I have. But to give you a sneak peek here's some of the things we'll cover:

  • preparing a destination topic for a brand new destination that you may know little about
  • steps to take when travelling to arrive refreshed and ready to rock from the platform
  • promoting your presentations onboard
  • preparing for your talks
  • connecting with your audience
  • etc., etc.

Bonus: I'll even tell you about some of the bloppers.

I'll try to get an email out to you with each new post. If you haven't already joined my mailing list you can do that here: