How to hire a dynamite speaker
A speaker often makes or breaks an event. They can set the tone with new ideas, focus and enthusiasm. Whether you are looking for sales, marketing, branding, motivation, leadership, customer service or emerging trends that impact your business, a carefully-selected professional speaker will communicate the message successfully.
The WHY. Identify your meeting goals. You should hire someone who will deliver the right message and leave your audience with inspiration and knowledge.
- What do you want your audience to walk away with?
- What are the main challenges that people in your audience are up against?
- Are you working to increase sales numbers?
- Do you need time for your audience to just relax and laugh together?
- Does your group require better communication skills or teambuilding?
- Does your company want to point out the possibilities for growth and success in troubled times?
The WHEN. Since one of the first things you do is establish the date and location of the meeting, settle that, and then next on your list should be to look for a speaker. Some professional speakers book up to more than a year in advance.
The WHAT. Think about the time of day the speaker will be presenting. For example, if it’s right after lunch, a high-energy speaker is important. After dinner, a lighter, upbeat entertainment with a message might be perfect. First thing in the morning is great for very high content.
The HOW MUCH. What price range does your budget allow for? There are thousands of speakers in every price range. Establish the budget first, as this will automatically narrow the field. And don’t forget to factor in travel fees.
Okay, now that the basics are established, it’s time to do your research.
Ask around. Check in with meeting planner colleagues and find out whom they have worked with in the past.
Don’t be afraid to contact a speaker you’ve hired previously. If you’ve had a successful experience with a speaker, it is a good idea to ask for his or her recommendation.
Speaker Bureaus are a great way to go. There is typically no fee, and they are a tremendous resource for speakers and entertainment. Consider working with bureaus that belong to the International Association of Speakers Bureaus, since they must follow a code of ethics; go to www.iasb.org for a list.
Check out the National Speakers Association. Go to www.nsaspeaker.org for an extensive list of professional speaker members and educate yourself on the designations awarded by this association.
Once you’ve narrowed the field, be sure to watch the speaker’s video to get an idea of their stage presence and see if they are speaking in your area and attend their program. And don’t forget to call their references. Clearly communicate your needs with the speaker and speaker bureau for best results.
Once a professional speaker decision has been made, remember that the work is not done. Keep in mind that the professional speaker is your ally. Be sure they are kept in the loop, with your newsletters and agenda for the entire meeting. Also, share information about your organization and audience, so the speaker can customize.
Last but not least, for a speaker to deliver his best program, he will need the proper atmosphere. Consider the room set up, number of chairs, distance from the stage, temperature and lighting. Have the right stage or platform so everyone can hear and see the speaker.
Professional speakers are an investment in the success of your meeting and, ultimately, your company’s growth. Selecting the right person will enhance the eventual outcome and make you a hero.