How to choose the perfect speaker for your special event

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Written by Tim Grable

July 12, 2017

How to choose the perfect speaker for your special event

Booking the perfect speaker or entertainer is perhaps the most important responsibility in planning a successful event. It is an overwhelming task, but we believe this simple guide can help direct you to the perfect match!

1) What is it that your audience needs or is looking for?

You must be familiar and “in touch” with the needs of your audience as you begin the process of selecting the perfect speaker or entertainer.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the audience want to be motivated? Entertained? Inspired? Challenged?
  • Will the audience expect a “household name”?
  • What is the message we want to convey?

2) What is the appropriate date, time of day and budget for my event?

Once you have decided the above, it’s time to start looking for a keynote speaker. Many speakers and entertainers fill their calendars up to a year in advance so you will want to begin contacting them immediately.

As you consider booking speakers, please designate a certain amount of time for that person to participate. A professional staff at a Speakers Bureau can assist you with that “assignment”. They will also be able to help you with a proper “flow of the program”.

3) Which speaker is the perfect match for your audience?

You may be tempted to spend “big bucks” for a well-known “name” for your speaker; however, keep in mind that a household name does not guarantee the presentation your audience may be looking for or expecting. From whom will your audience benefit the most: a personality; an author, a politician, a technician, a professional athlete?

4) How do I “find” a perfect speaker?

After a short list of potential speakers is made, contact a Speakers Bureau that will work for you!!!

Professional account executives will be able to help you with your specific needs. They will gather information (bios, references, videos), get free quotes and provide you with all the necessary information you will need to make the best decision based on those needs.

They should be able to contact any professional speaker on your behalf!

5) Choose your speaker!

Remember, by working with a professional, you are partnering with an advocate. Your account executive will use his/her experience to suggest the best possible speaker or entertainer for your event. Why would they do otherwise? Their integrity and reputation depend on your satisfaction.

6)  Should I expect any kind of official confirmation of the speaker’s appearance at
my event?

ABSOLUTELY! By getting a letter of agreement or a personal appearance contract you are protecting yourself from any unexpected surprises!

The document should clearly outline the expectations of both you, the customer, and the speaker or entertainer.

As you work through this document, please remember to consider the following:
transportation arrangements, lodging, meals, fees, reimbursements, payment terms, the timeline of the event reflecting the speaker’s involvement, product sales, recording, AV requirements, cancellation policies, and any legal implications.

7) Should I expect direct communication with the speaker?

On many occasions, the speaker will welcome such communication; others may not. It is important for you to share information about your audience with the speaker/entertainer. Give the speaker or his/her account executive a complete and concise outline of what you expect, along with all the specific demographics of your audience. Let the speaker know about any other professionals who have been invited to participate on your program.

8)  What will my guest speaker be expecting from me on the day of the program?

Be sure the room is arranged for maximum impact, i.e. the number of chairs, how they are arranged, the stage set-up, proper public address system, proper lighting, proper temperature.

You man have the perfect speakers but the program must stay on schedule

Keep the introduction of the speaker short and concise. Many times the speaker will provide you with an appropriate introduction. If they don’t, ask to see if one is available. Use the introduction to “set the mood” for positive expectations and a successful event!

9) Whew! How was it?

The true test…what did the audience think? Be sure you have your event evaluations ready for the audience to complete immediately following the program while it is “fresh” on their minds. The results of this evaluation will be VERY helpful as you review your results and plan ahead for future programs.

For help planning your event contact The Grable Group at 615-283-0039.

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