Appointing professional speakers to speak at conferences and events is a great way to gain insights and inspirations. Finding the right speaker that best fit your needs, nevertheless, is both science and art. Below are 5 tips to make your meeting a success:
1. Be clear what your audiences need
The first crucial step of finding the right speaker for your event is to clarify what your audience need. Having worked with clients from different industries and background, we found that many of them were indeed not very clear about what they expect. One most common enquiry we get is, “We need a leadership speaker…” When dig deeper, nevertheless, we found that mostly what the client need is not a “leadership speaker”, but rather a speaker who can advise on change management, or whom can help identify the business trend etc. A better starting point in clarifying your expectations, is asking yourself, or your audiences what challenges you are facing. Working with experienced professional speakers bureau can also help clarify your needs.
2. Decide on date, time and book early
Good professional speakers are always in hot demand with hectic travel schedules. Therefore, determining your event date early and booking in advance can help ascertain you get the speaker you want and best fit your needs. Working with professional speakers bureau, especially the one in your region can also help you identify the speakers who will be around and are appropriate for your event, and as a result help save in traveling expenses, or even get a discount for en-routed arrangements in some cases.
3. Decide on budget
Fees for engaging celebrity speakers, especially ex-politicians, authors of international best sellers and prestigious businessmen, could be rocket high. No doubt their experiences, stories and fame worth the dollar. Having said that, it does not mean that speakers charging a more modest fee are necessarily not as good as the high-charging ones – many of these speakers actually have extremely good contents to share. Therefore, be clear about your budget and communicate with your speaker agent openly can help them to find you the appropriate speaker within your expected fee range.
4. Identifying the right speakers
If you visit the homepage of any speakers, or that of the agencies, you will find that all speakers look extremely good on paper. How can you identify the speaker who is truly good and suitable for your event? Below are a few indicators:
- Speaking video – Most speakers nowadays put up videos / YouTube links of them speaking. Make sure you have watched them and like their style. You may also wish to observe the audience size, responses from the live audiences and event scale from the video.
- Direct conversation – Whether you are dealing directly with the speaker, or through an agency, do not just rely on email or other written communication – in stead, do request to talk, or meet (if possible) with the speaker directly, before confirming the engagement. Ask a few questions related to the topic you want the speaker to present to see how he responses – look for unique insights, industry specific knowledge, relevant stories and experiences from the answers, and also get a feel of how well prepared the speaker is for the conversation, and whether his / her style fits your organization / audience.
- Repeated bookings – Whether a speaker gets repeated bookings from the same client are always a good indicator of his quality. We have, for instance, a company booking the same speaker for 3 times consecutively in one year – starting from engaging the speaker for the Exco meeting, to the senior management meeting, to the high-potential leadership training. We also have another example with different business units of the same company booking the same speaker, for they have been referring the speaker internally. Therefore, do ask the speaker whether he / she gets repeated booking from any of his / her existing clients.
- Expert advice – The advantage of working with a professional speakers bureau is that it is our job to identify the most appropriate speakers for the clients, and the quality of the speakers they represent directly impact on their reputation. Responsible speakers agencies are selective of their speaker intake. Do ask the bureau you are working with on their speaker selection criteria.
- Customization – One size never fits all. Look for speakers whom customize their presentation contents for individual clients, based on their research of the industry and specifically the client.
5. Candid Communication
To ensure the presentation of the speaker best fit your needs, make sure that you communicate candidly with the speaker the followings:
- Company information, background
- Specific expectation of the event
- Current challenges faced (if any)
- Size and demographic of the audience
Hope the above list proves useful in your future speaker search. Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] if need further information, or speaker recommendation of your upcoming event.