Doubling Down on Speakers

Compelling speaker pairs add excitement to any event

Passing Zone David and Jonah Stillman

Batman and Robin, Starsky and Hutch, Cagney and Lacey: These are a few teams that have entertained us over the years. Now, powerful pairs are finding their way onto the corporate speaking circuit.

"Duos? They are fun and engaging. Information is presented in a more dynamic and unique format," says Diane Goodman, CMP, president and founder of The Goodman Speakers Bureau. "By having two, it expands the demographic reach to include different generations and genders. Often, they will play off each other, which keeps the energy high and truly makes for a memorable event."

Why book two speakers versus one? "Because you have a 50 percent greater chance of appealing to your audience, plus two speakers can add additional energy and perspective to the presentation, " says Andrea Gold, president, Gold Stars Speakers Bureau.

Here are a few fun pairs planners can consider. All speakers can be secured through Gold Stars Speakers Bureau or Goodman Speakers Bureau, a sponsor of Northstar Travel Media events.

The Passing Zone
Roaring chainsaws, flaming torches, and sharp knives are de rigueur in a presentation by The Passing Zone's Jon Wee and Owen Morse. "In their more elaborate presentation, they even juggle people," adds Gold. "Their hilarious commentary that accompanies the truly talented juggling action makes for a very unique and memorable presentation." Juggling priorities and keeping more than one ball in the air are themes they focus on.

Heath Brothers
Co-authors and brothers Chip and Dan Heath have spent decades deciphering why some ideas succeed while others do not in books like Made to Stick and Switch. Their presentations bring their "how to" books to life, with audiences learning how to make communication stickier, to lead successful change, and to improve decision-making skills.

Giuliana and Bill Rancic
This power couple boasts more than 5 million social media followers and their book, I Do … Now What, is a best seller. They have also joined forces with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises to launch RPM Italian in Chicago, RPM Steak in Chicago, and RPM in Washington D.C. and Las Vegas. Topics this couple speak about include striking a balance between work and play.

David and Jonah Stillman
A generational expert and coauthor of two best-selling books on generations at work, David Stillman teams with his high-school-student son Jonah (a nationally ranked snowboarder) to talk about the many generations in the workplace. The two form the first Gen X and Gen Z, father-son, speaking combo.

The Freakonomics Pair 
Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, authors of Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics (with 7 million copies sold and counting) enthrall groups with their wry and unconventional insights. The pair dazzles audiences with data-based stories of how human behavior is influenced and what incentives work -- and don't. They have presented individually as well as together. SM

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This article appears in the October 2015 issue of Successful Meetings.