Looking for the perfect speaker for your next event? Here are a few helpful hints for booking the best person for the job and how you can collaborate to make the most of the experience.
Establish your logistics
Before approaching anyone, be prepared with dates, location, estimate of audience members and budget. Yes – a budget. Speakers may be passionate about their topics, but they generally aren’t speaking out of the kindness of their hearts and do require a fee. Plus, you may also have to cover airfare, hotel rooms and other expenses. Make sure all details of payments are in writing, so no one is surprised in the end.
Do some research
Watch videos of your speaker’s previous speaking engagements to get a feel of what they will potentially bring to the table. You may be looking for a serious vibe or maybe more lighthearted. Sometimes you’ll need someone who delivers clear, concise information, while other times you may be in the market for someone with a more personal, inspirational story to tell. By watching clips, you’ll be able to tell if your speaker brings the right energy for your audience.
Complete a background check
Have a solid look at the person you want to hire. Have they received any negative reviews in the past? Possibly bad press? Do their views (political or otherwise) clash with those of your audience? Take a look at their blogs and social media accounts (they can be pretty telling!). You are who your speakers are. The people chosen to address your audience are speaking on your behalf, so be sure the right message is being delivered.
Collaborate on content
Many speakers will have a speech that they have used several times, slightly modified to fit specific audiences. Ask if you can see the main content ahead of time and make any suggestions or requests where applicable. If there are certain topics, terms, etc., that the speaker should avoid, be upfront about it. By working together, you will give your audience the best experience possible and leave them with some new, helpful information.
Go beyond speaking
Of course, the reason you’ve hired a speaker is their enthusiasm for a subject and their ability to captivate an audience. But try to work together beyond that. Maybe your speaker wouldn’t mind being at a booth for an hour or two to answer questions or sign autographs or copies of their book. Maybe they would be willing to contribute an article or blog post for your website. If you’re in need of video content, ask if they’d be willing to do some on-camera content that you can post after your event. You may also want to think about a few weeks post-event. A LinkedIn live may be an option or possibly a podcast.
Think about your end game
In the end, what do you want your audience/attendees to take away from the presentation? How do you want them to feel? What knowledge should they have gained? It’s all about the experience you provide. People should leave the event having gained something – whether its insight to the industry or simply inspiration. Find the speaker who will provide a lasting positive impression.