The good news is that I can pick the potentially bearable presenters from their bios alone. Those that lead with "guru" or "world-renowned" I can safely assume will not impart anything useful for me to share with my colleagues back home.
So when I read the bio of this "innovative" speaker (below), I said to the other conferees: I don't like this guy. He is going to talk about his books and his rich clients. I'm going to give it a miss.
Needless to say, I was right. I found this out during the presentation while Skyping back and forth with an attendee who gave me the blow-by-blow.
Here's an excerpt:
[5:27:36 PM] me: how's the keynote?
[5:28:19 PM] him: Sucks. I hate him already.
[5:28:44 PM] me: seriously? You'll have to do a shot every time he mentions a client.
[5:29:15 PM] him: Or everytime he mentions his latest book!
[5:29:30 PM] me: OK, that!
[5:34:37 PM] him: Now he's trying to tell jokes...
[5:36:02 PM] me: are they jokes about his books and clients?
[5:38:51 PM] him: He's now talking about [famous client]
[5:49:44 PM] him: Now telling [another famous person] stories
.....[6:01:26 PM] him: It turns out that u should exceed expectations...
[6:01:26 PM] me: Well, @!$# me. I should've been there!
[6:04:08 PM] him: He will give us a free poster of himself! Seriously!!
[6:07:21 PM] me: no frickin' way. What are you supposed to do with that?
[6:13:58 PM] him: He's reading to us from his poster...
[6:15:02 PM] me: Ask him how much you would have to pay for it otherwise?
[6:16:55 PM] him: He will even sign it for you!!!
[6:17:15 PM] me: is that free too?
[6:18:25 PM] him: Be the miracle!
[6:18:48 PM] me: NO, YOU be the miracle! You can do it!
You should have seen the warning signs!
###### is a speaker, author, entrepreneur, business owner and one of the most innovative guitarists in the world. With over 2,000 presentations to his name, his expertise on leadership and customer service comes from 30 hard-won years in the trenches as an entrepreneur.
For the past 13 of those years, he has led his company, [company name], to set the gold standard for customer service and excellence in the recording industry and is home to [famous people] to name a few.
He has had ten albums released and four books published, including [book name] which has become required reading for many high schools and universities [interestingly, no name dropping here].
###### has been a contributor on CNN and Canada AM, and has made over 55 other national and major market television appearances. He is also a featured speaker for [agent representing motivational speakers and their cheesy books].
###### lives in [city] and serves on the boards of several organizations. He loves spending time enjoying some of his greatest passions – hanging out with his four children, throwing large barbecues for his [famous] clients and friends…