5 Questions for Michael Hyatt
1. How do your leadership messages apply to meeting planners?
I can almost measure growth spurts in my life from either a book that deeply impacted me or a conference that deeply impacted me. I believe in the power of live events to change the course of people and make a life impact. Meeting planners are leaders. The very fact that they have the willingness to assemble a group of people, figure out what this group needs, and to prepare and anticipate the needs of the audience is the essence of leadership.
2. Why are face-to-face events important?
What it does is create a shared experience for the audience. When you have a shared experience, you have alignment, which is one of most important things one can create in an organization. If they can get their minds around what I’m presenting and leave with the same body of knowledge, they can act on it together.
3. What advice do you have for planners when selecting a speaker?
Don’t get misled by what I would call secondary things when booking a speaker. The best speakers are not always the ones with impressive academic credentials—we’ve all been bored by people with Ph.D.s. And don’t get sidetracked with who just happen to be best-selling authors. It’s not all about [the speaker]. It’s about the audience, and focusing on their needs, their dreams and tapping into that. When booking, does the speaker have a way to get the word out about your event? Can they be proactive and actually be a marketing channel that you use that’s helpful as well?
4. How has life changed since you retired as CEO of Thomas Nelson this past spring?
Retired? I call it re-fired. I would say what’s different is practical things. I don’t have a commute. I’ve reclaimed that time. This is the most creative time of my life. My whole life is spent speaking, thinking, writing—writing every morning, all morning long. I love this season. I’m busier than I’ve ever been, but I rarely go to meetings any more. My meeting today is lunch with guys in a mentoring group. For me at this point in my life, giving back and making sure I’m passing the baton to the next generation is really important. I was challenged to start that group—eight young men who meet every two weeks at my home. We read through books together, talk about things from marriage to business ideas to life planning. I think you’ve got to be the illustration of a healthy lake or body of water and not the Dead Sea. You have to have an inlet and an outlet. You’ve got to have something you’re pouring life into, giving back. If you’re not developing other people, you’re really not a leader. You may be a very effective manager.
5. You started speaking after your first book “Millenium Bug” was published. Did the book and speaking opportunities launch a desire to speak more or write more?
Well, really both. I see them as two halves of the same coin. They’re just different delivery methods of your same message. When you’re speaking, you have the potential to engage with people more personally, and really in a sense more intimately because you are there. There’s power in a group when everyone is learning and being exposed to something together. A book gives the opportunity to go one-on-one and deliver content on demand, and you can go deeper with a book than you can with speaking.