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Graeme Bowman: Frequently Asked Questions

My event is outside Victoria. Why would I book Graeme rather than a local person?

We want a keynote speaker. Why choose Graeme's presentation on creative thinking rather than a rah-rah motivational talk?

Why should I use a professional MC

For an MC, why not get a local TV or radio presenter?

Why engage Graeme instead of a TV comic or a comedian who works the pubs and clubs?

For our dinner we're tossing up between a band, a comedian and a speaker. How do we decide?

Our conferences are very serious. Why engage someone humorous?


My event is outside Victoria. Why would I book Graeme rather than a local person?

Some clients assume that an interstate speaker or comedian is more expensive than a local one, because of travel costs. This is true if the performance fees are identical. But fees vary widely between different speakers and comedians. When compared to the fees of some high profile speakers and comedians, Graeme's total costs (fee plus travel) may be similar or even less.

Also, when you decide to utilise several of Graeme's talents, you can negotiate a package deal which may be lower than the sum of the fees for 2-3 different individuals filling the roles of MC, comedian and speaker. So once again, travel costs may not be the deciding factor.

We want a keynote speaker. Why choose Graeme's presentation on creative thinking rather than a rah-rah motivational talk?

Well, for a start, Graeme's presentation, 'How to Suck Great Ideas Out of Your Head', does have a motivational aspect to it. It will motivate your audience to challenge their current way of thinking and try a new approach.

Some motivational speakers will pump your audience up to the point where they're ready to run through a brick wall. But how long will this effect last? Once everyone's back at work, putting out fires and managing by crisis, all those fine words can seem a long way off. On the other hand, Graeme leaves audience members with a couple of simple, easy-to-remember techniques they can apply anywhere, anytime.

But, if you have sufficient budget and time in your program, get both types of speakers. Just ensure that each speaker offers some lasting, take-away value.

Why should I use a professional Master of Ceremonies?

Well, why get a professional brain surgeon? Because you want the best possible outcome. Sure, anyone can get up and introduce the next speaker, but not everyone can bring a sense of fun and energy to the role of Master of Ceremonies.

At a conference, what people need most, in between business presentations, is a mental or physical breather. Graeme can provide that through short humorous routines and stretch breaks. Let's put it this way - how would you feel about having to give a presentation straight after an hour long speech on your organisation's finances? And how do you think the audience would be feeling? A couple of laughs from a good MC can make all the difference to each delegate's alertness and interest level - not to mention their will to live!

At an awards dinner, there should be a sense of flair and celebration. A good MC can enhance this mood and keep the evening bubbling along. However, these nights can also be a bit predictable and ho-hum - especially for those who don't win an award! So a touch of the unexpected is also useful. For example, even at a black-tie dinner, Graeme's first appearance is often in a crumpled shirt and shorts, as David Attenborough's long lost brother, Bruce, who delivers a hilarious routine about the evolution of your organisation or industry. (Oh, before you get too worried, he does emerge later on looking just as formal as everyone else.)

For an MC, why not get a local TV or radio presenter?

Engaging a live audience is not the same as working to a camera or reading the news on radio. So don't assume that a well known TV face or radio voice will necessarily be your best choice as Master of Ceremonies. But even if they come across well in front of a live audience, will they actually add much value to the event? And will they be able or willing to write special material?

Very few will bring the versatility to the role that comes with a dedicated corporate MC and entertainer such as Graeme Bowman.

Why engage Graeme instead of a TV comic, or a comedian who works the pubs and clubs?

Some of these people may make an excellent MC, or have a brilliant act. Just make sure that you are not getting a 'loose cannon' - someone who is hell bent on making fun of absolutely everything, regardless of whether it offends your audience, an award winner, your Gold Sponsor or the Managing Director's spouse.

To be both funny and acceptable, the corporate Master of Ceremonies or Comedian must walk a creative tightrope and know where to draw the line. This means that, no matter how funny something may be, if it's inappropriate to that audience it gets left out. Graeme's attitude is: clients and their objectives come first, not the desire to do anything for a laugh.

Also make sure that you don't book a famous face who may regard appearing at your event as far less important than their normal work. A big ego may not see your function as all that exciting, and they may be doing it 'just for the money'. And that attitude may show.

For our dinner we're tossing up between a band, a comedian and a speaker. How do we decide?

Consider these points:

  • At a dinner, people deserve some entertainment and the chance to unwind. So a serious speaker may not be such a great idea.
  • With a Hoax Speaker you can get a comedian and speaker rolled into one.
  • If there's a big imbalance between males and females in your audience, forget the band.
  • A hoax speech or comedy spot will engage everybody, whereas people who don't want to dance may not get anything out of a band.
  • If your event would provide a great networking opportunity for the audience, then they may want to talk rather than dance. And if the band's too loud, they won't be able to talk.
  • A successful half-hour of comedy will add to the evening without taking away too much networking time.
  • If you have a full program with lots of awards to hand out, will there even be time for a band? You may be better off with Graeme as a humorous Master of Ceremonies, spicing up the event throughout.

Our conferences are very serious. Why engage someone humorous?

There is a big difference between serious and solemn. Just because your objectives are serious, it doesn't mean your conference should be totally lacking in humour. In fact, that's a sure recipe for putting an audience to sleep. Quite simply, humans weren't designed to sit still in a darkened room for hours on end, so you need something to keep them awake and interested.

At the very least, reward them over dinner with some entertainment, or intersperse some short, sharp bursts of humour throughout the business sessions. Graeme's style as a Master of Ceremonies injects light hearted moments right into the middle of those long, dry technical sessions, and helps keep your audience alert and focussed.

By the way, a very effective way of addressing serious issues at a launch or conference is through the use of Devil's Advocate Characters. Such characters are usually created to represent the viewpoint of a stakeholder in your business, and are designed to pinpoint controversial or sensitive issues.

For example, Graeme can suddenly jump up in the audience or burst into the room as an irate customer, arrogant competitor, dissatisfied shareholder or cynical employee, dealer or franchisee. This is powerful communication that brings to the surface exactly what's on the audience's mind. The last thing you need is an issue that's left festering throughout your event; far better to raise it in a dramatic way that's controlled and non-threatening, address it then put it to bed.