Face to Face with Andrew Klein, Director SPIKE Presentations

business events logoAndrew writes a monthly column for Business Events News (BEN) called “Confessions of a Compulsive Conference Goer” in which he discusses issues and observations from the conference front-line”
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Andrew Klein, director of SPIKE Presentations, presents his front line observations on conferences in a regular feature in BEN.

Business Events News recently caught up with SPIKE Presentations director Andrew Klein. For the past 17 years, he has worked as a Professional Conference and Event MC and Presentation & Pitching Skills trainer. He is a former corporate lawyer who changed career paths in 1995 and since then has been working as a Professional MC, speaker and trainer.

Klein has become well-known on the conference circuit in Australia and Asia, for his ability to involve the audience in proceedings, his revealing speaker introductions, humorous conference commentary, improvisational skills and ability to adapt to different audiences. Andrew likes coaching basketball, getting his hair cut, reading Dr Seuss books and trying to convince his wife and 3 young kids that he has a real job.

What does your role entail?

There are two sides to my work. I am a professional conference & event MC, as well as trainer & speaker on Presentation Skills and Pitching Skills.

What’s the first thing you do when you get in the office?

When not at a conference or training day, I work from home- so the first thing I usually do is take the kids to school, grab a coffee, return home, put the Vegemite away and walk upstairs into the “office”

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Travelling/being away from home. It’s part of the job but important to get the balance right. My biggest challenge though is explaining to people that what I do is actually a legitimate career!

How do you inspire your team?

I’m a one-man business. So contrary to that cliched motivational saying, I can actually say there is an “I” in team – as I am the team. The downside to that is if I call in sick, I know I’m lying. The upside is that I clean up in the Melbourne Cup Office Sweep. But having three kids at private school keeps me constantly inspired & motivated.

Dealing with new technology – bonus or headache?

Definitely a bonus. And particularly because I have a 12-year old “IT Manager” who lives and works in the bedroom downstairs.

What would you be doing if you weren’t director of SPIKE Presentations?

I was formerly a corporate lawyer. So if I wasn’t doing this, I’d probably be a depressed, miserable law firm Partner having a mid-life crisis. Also, I often get told I would have made a good Wiggle.

Who has inspired you?

The late Ron Tacchi, one of the founding fathers of the Australian speaking industry in the late 90’s. He was the first person to say “You’re good at this!” and to point out how you can have a sustainable career in the MC/Speaking industry.

What makes a great conference?

A conference organiser with imagination and a real understanding of the delegates. Dynamic, engaging speakers. Getting the right balance between education and networking. And a great MC of course to pull it all together.

What is the most inspiring conference you have been involved in?

As a conference MC, I am lucky enough to hear inspiring speakers all the time. But as for an entire conference, I can’t go past a series of Government Mental Health Conferences I did in Melbourne last year for Mental Health Carers. The most dedicated, passionate, caring delegates I’ve ever met.

How many conferences have you attended in the last year?

About 46. But who’s counting?

 


© Andrew Klein 2014