We have a guest blogger today. Andrea H. Gold is president of Gold Stars Speakers Bureau. Here Are Her Five Tips to Choosing the “Right” Speaker for Your Meeting or Event
It’s time to put together your meeting or event. The responsibility has fallen on your shoulders. So, you nail down the date. You do virtual or in-person site visits, select and contract the right property. You create a room block. You sample and select an ideal and budget-conscious menu. You arrange ground transportation. And you prepare to advertise the event. You have been busy to the max.
But wait! Something’s missing! You have worked so hard to create a fine meeting experience. But, who is speaking at this event? Think about it. What is the one main thing that will be remembered after the event is done and over?
You probably guessed it. That’s right. It’s the speakers. The speakers are usually the main feature of the entire function.
Oftentimes, the people planning an event or meeting forget about – or put a low priority on – selecting the speaker(s). Yet, your entire function’s success will most likely depend on how well the speakers impact or connect with the attendees.
To ensure your function’s success, refer to these five tips when initially figuring out the “right” speaker.
- Determine the purpose of your speaker. This is paramount to taking the next steps. If you don’t know what you want, how will you choose? If you were thinking, “I’ll know the right speaker when I see him or her,” consider that a red flag. A speaker’s presentation will normally fit into one or a combination of these three types of messages. Is this speaker here to motivate the troops? To entertain mainly? Or perhaps to educate? Or it could be a combination of these three main speaker functions.
- Establish your speaker budget. Do you know what funds are available for booking speakers? Have you factored in possible travel and lodging costs? Many groups ask for the moon, yet, when it comes time to actually contract a speaker, they realize they don’t have near the funds they thought. Be realistic. If working with a third party, such as a speakers bureau, be clear on what you really have to work with, so you don’t get choices beyond your budget.
- Determine any special requirements. Does your group consist of mostly older people? Are they mostly owners or in top management, or are they front-line people who deal directly with the customer? Is the audience comprised of mostly men or women? Are they mainly engineers and technical people or expressive, creative beauty-industry people, for example? Is the group going to include people both domestic and international? The art of picking the best speakers for your meeting depend on factoring in the special demographics and needs of your attendees.
- Make sure the speaker is available. Many times the planners involved may choose a speaker on paper or in thought. They think that their job is done. The group simply assigns someone to ‘go book that speaker.’ However, speakers are busy. They also have to factor in travel days, so their calendars are dynamic and full. If you know who you want to book and have a specific time and date, don’t hesitate to contact the speaker or speakers bureau ASAP to lock him or her in. One additional tip here: make sure your meeting site is locked in, so you don’t book a speaker, only to find out the site is not available on that date.
- Find speakers who work well with you. There are speakers, and there are speakers. Work with the ones who have your best interests in mind. Are they eager to help you create the best experience for the attendees? Do they bring value to the equation? Are they accessible and responsive?
The right or wrong match up of speaker to audience and the purpose of the meeting can make or break your event. A variety of other factors come into play when choosing the right speaker. These tips will help you get started. A list of additional considerations and checklists can also available in “How to Book a Speaker: A Decision Maker’s Guide.”
Choose your speakers well! Or, get professional assistance to help you choose the best for your specific meeting needs. I wish you a wonderful, successful meeting, with the maximum speaker enjoyment and impact!
Andrea H. Gold is president of Gold Stars Speakers Bureau, providing speakers, celebrities and business resources worldwide for more than 25 years. She is co-author of numerous books, including the e-book, “How to Book a Speaker: A Decision Maker’s Guide” (2014). She also helps as moderator of a meeting planner Google group listserv for nearly 4,000 planners and meeting industry experts. Andrea, her speakers and books can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.goldstars.com.