Selecting the Right Speaker for Your Event

Selecting the Right Speaker for Your Event

We understand that selecting the right speaker for your event is overwhelming, with pressure coming at you from all directions. With a world changing by the minute, an industry that’s been thrown on its head and forced to change the way it does business, it’s still crucial to take the time to vet speakers to ensure you secure the right speaker for your event, but vetting takes time (a precious commodity for a planner). Speaker management companies and Speakers bureaus bring experience and perspective that you can’t find anywhere else. Why spend days, weeks even, trying to track down the latest intel on talent you have your eye one when you can easily get that from industry experts who work with speakers all day every day? We bring that valuable expertise to you, saving you time, frustration, and money. Data shows that meeting professionals turn to the internet when seeking talent, but buyer beware, the internet is a good resource but not necessarily the best place to procure your speaker.

Here are five things to consider before you start your search: (when looking and booking your next keynote)

  1. Ask questions! Reach out to the stakeholders of the meeting, whether it is an executive in the organization or an executive director of an association and ask as many questions as you can in the time you have.  Below are a few key questions to ask to help you understand what is on their mind and what they are looking for in a speaker.
    1. How important to the overall success of the meeting is the outside speaker?
    2. Are there any issues or challenges facing the organization that you want the speaker to address?
    3. If there is one thing or feeling you want attendees to have when they walk out of the room after hearing the speaker, what would that be?
    4. Is there a particular type of speaker you are looking for, such as an author, journalist, sports personality, economist, adventurer, celebrity, etc.
    5. What books are they reading? (this can give you insight into what is on their minds)
    6. Budget?
  1. If you are going to do research on the internet, here are a few things to think about:
    1. How will you vet the speaker? (Are they really who they say they are?)
    2. If you book a speaker directly, who will be contracting and doing all the logistics?
    3. What happens if they cancel?
    4. What is their reputation?
  1. Ask the right questions of the speaker up front:
    1. Do they customize? Have them detail for you how they do that – many speakers just change the name of the group and give the same speech.
    2. Don’t be afraid to ask for references and then call them
    3. Ask for a full-length video and not just a 2-minute clip
  1. Speaker management companies and speakers bureaus – your trusted partners
      1. In your internet research, you may find that some speakers will have their contact info directed to a speaker management company or speakers bureau. That is a good thing, as they will handle all the details for you.
      2. Instead of spending hours and days researching the internet, reach out to a speaker management company or bureau partner for guidance, recommendations, and peace of mind. Your best resource for finding one is IASB, International Association of Speakers Bureaus.  These companies know all the idiosyncrasies of speakers, such as:
        1. Which speakers have a reputation of canceling a few days before an event?
        2. Who is easy to work with and who is not?
        3. Which speakers truly customize their programs and will have conference calls
      3. Delivery styles and content
      4. Be prepared to provide all the details of the event
        1. Date, time, length, location, venue, how many people, who are they, purpose of the meeting, topic they are interested in
        2. Are they interested in books, if the speaker has one?
        3. Will the speaker be expected to attend or be invited to any other functions?
  1. On-site expectations
    1. Make sure the AV requirements are secured well in advance of the event and set a time for a tech check/rehearsal
    2. Confirm the introduction that will be used (often people grab information from the internet that is old or inaccurate)
    3. It is helpful to identify someone who can escort the speaker to the AV check and the event

As a veteran of the industry for over 40 years, I am always available to give you guidance, make recommendations and help you with your speaker search. My goal is to make your job as a meeting professional as easy as possible.

Diane Goodman, CMP, President of Goodman Speaker Management, brings 40 years of industry experience and deep knowledge. Since she founded Goodman Speakers 40 years ago, Diane has been a guiding force in the meeting industry.  She has built an impeccable reputation for trust and integrity by providing consultative service to clients across the United States and throughout the world.