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Seth Godin’s Rider

[Updated for a new reality, post-mid pandemic.

I’m so grateful for the clients that enabled me to travel the world and give more than 1,000 talks in person, often to large groups of truly engaged and fascinating people. While I loved the speaking, the travel did me in.

Starting in 2020, I won’t be doing any more air travel. Just below this note, my thoughts on virtual events:

I’m leaving this here for posterity. Thanks!]

Type of virtual event

I can do an event as-live or live. They generally have been split about half and half over the last few months.

As-live is a well-filmed keynote from me, customized to your organization, and delivered as if it’s live. There are slides interspersed throughout, but it is not highly produced with special effects or multiple camera angles.

It’s delivered at least a week before the event, in downloadable form via Vimeo, in HD format. Your team then plays it on your platform of choice and it comes through as though it were live.

The advantage of the as-live event is that your tech concerns are eliminated, there are no time zone issues and the video is more polished. No edits are possible once you’ve received the video via Vimeo.

Live is as it sounds. This is most effective when it’s intimate and impromptu. For this reason, you should plan on a lot of Q&A. Some groups have their host interview me as part of the talk, or even do 90% Q&A.

I’m not interested in doing live talks that aren’t interactive. It’s just too much real-time drama with no upside.

The technology in my studio:, I have a wired high-speed connection to the web, a Sony Alpha 7 35-mm camera with special portrait lens soft-box LED lights, a Marantz microphone with phantom power, a Tascam pre amp, an ATEM mixer and a Macbook Pro. I’ve done more than 300 Zoom calls in production environments with no issues.

# # #

Thanks for your interest in having me speak.

The details and links on this page are essential to getting the most out of a talk from me, and they’re an integral part of my speaking agreement.

There are four posts [here] that set the stage and are part of this rider.

Digital event? Rider is at the bottom of this page…

And here’s the rest:

Details for getting the most out of a speech featuring Seth Godin

Over the last thirty years, I’ve given more than 1000 presentations to groups as small as six and as large as 122,000. During that time, I’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t. I’ve also discovered that more than half the time, the technical team on site had no idea whatsoever what was needed for me to do my best work. Hence this handy note..

To get the most out of your event and to keep me from living on the seventh level of Dante’s Inferno as I experience the same pitfalls over and over, I’ve put together this list of requirements and suggestions. I ask that the person responsible for the event actively confirm that you’ll make these things happen. Here it is, in the third person, for your team:

  1. Seth uses a MacBook Pro laptop running Keynote software. He has his own computer and his own VGA/HDMI adapter, so a standard VGA or HDMI cable works just fine. He also has a standard Apple DVI adapter. And HDMI output on his Mac. HDMI seems to be the standard now, let’s go with that. His presentation does not run on any other computer but his.
  2. No sound out required. AC power should be within six feet of the computer.
  3. Seth needs a wireless lavalier microphone. To be specific, a clip-on tie microphone, not an earpiece. The microphone connects via a belt pack. He’s not able to do a good job with a wired microphone, a handheld microphone or a podium microphone. He also travels with his own Countryman-style mic if you’d prefer that, please ask first.
  4. For any group more than 25 people, he needs a microphone. Please be sure that you’ve tested it on all areas of the stage for volume and for feedback.
  5. Some large audiences are best served using iMag, which projects an image of the speaker on several large screens. This works well, however, you MUST have your iMag set up so that least one screen the audience sees carries nothing but Seth’s slides, while one or more carry the image of Seth speaking.

    To be specific, this means that if you have a large group, you should have at least two screens, and at least one of the screens should have just the slides from Seth’s computer and at least one of the screens should have Seth’s image. It is NOT acceptable to switch back and forth on one screen. You’re just going to have to trust us on this—Seth has literally hundreds of slides that he clicks through (pictures, not words) and despite the assertions and promises of those that have meant well, you just don’t have enough time to practice this and get it right. So please guarantee that the screens will be set up as described. The alternative is no slides. No slides is fine with Seth, but switching is not.
  6. Seth’s laptop is controlled by a remote control that he brings with him. The laptop must be set up within sight and no more than 20 feet of the most distant point where Seth will be standing. It usually works best to have it on a cocktail table so it can also work as a confidence monitor.
  7. Alas, Seth can’t present his laptop to you the night before for setup and safekeeping, nor can he surrender it you the day of the event, except at the final tech check just before his session.  However, Seth is more than willing to work with your team on a tech check, preferably at least thirty minutes before he goes on stage.
  8. The first slide of Seth’s presentation is his intro slide–this means that your tech team has the ability to switch to his slides long before he gets on stage. Please confirm that you can build this into your run of show flow.
  9. TIP: In groups of more than fifty, Q&A is tempting but not usually an effective way to end the presentation. Instead, Seth recommends asking selected audience members to submit questions to a moderator in advance. Then, when the talk is over, you can have one person firing questions—ending the meeting on an up, not with, “okay, so there’s no more questions, time to go.” The other alternative is a great deal of Q&A, at least fifteen minutes.
  10. TIP: Groups that schedule a break right after Seth’s presentation are usually glad they did. You get that high-energy scrum at the front of the room for people who want to say “hi” and you get conversation time as people consider what they just learned.
  11. If your booking involves an overnight stay, please be sure to find a hotel that’s either at the venue or closer to the airport than the venue itself, and book a non-smoking room.
  12. TIP: Whenever possible, make the room at the event too small, not too big. This is often overlooked and it makes a huge difference. It’s also a good idea to dispense with round tables and pack people in together—at least for the speech itself.
  13. Feel free to take as many flash photos as you’d like before Seth’s talk, but please, no flash during the presentation.
  14. Seth’s slides are not available for download, or for publishing as notes or a handout. In addition, unless you specifically work it out, you don’t have the ability to record and then resell or distribute Seth’s talk.
  15. I’m afraid that I’m not able to work on a stage that’s set in the round, with the audience on all sides. While it’s possible that there’s an audience member or a speaker who has noted that this setup has led to better interaction, I’ve never once met one.
  16. If you’d like to interact with Seth before the event, email is actually quicker and more effective than a conference call. Seth can be reached at seth@sethgodin.com.
  17.  Suggested intro: Here’s a link
  18. DIGITAL EVENTS: First, it pays to have all attendees read this post. In fact, it’s a good post in general to share.
    1. Seth will appear via Zoom. Every attendee should be on their own computer, even if they’re for some reason in the same building.
    2. Everyone should have installed and tested the software first. They can get a free copy automatically downloaded here.
    3. Please ask each attendee to use a laptop, not a phone. While it’s possible to use a phone for a zoom call, the features we’ll do better if the attendees are there via a computer instead.
    4. These calls should not be republished or used in any way without prior approval.