How to Hire a Speaker
Many businesses, organizations and associations hire keynote speakers to entertain, motivate and educate their audience. Hiring a motivational or keynote speaker can be very different than hiring a subject matter expert: an educator may not be very entertaining but highly informative, while a motivational speaker may not meet the expectations of your group.
If you’ve been charged with hiring a speaker for your event, here are tips and guidelines to help you choose the right speaker for your audience:
1. Define your expectations of a speaker
What is the purpose of your event? Has your organization used speakers before? Who is your audience? Before you begin to search for a speaker for your event, decide what it is you need your speaker to do:
• do you need an educational speaker who will explain a specific topic to your audience?
• are you looking for a motivational speaker who will enthuse and inspire your sales force?
• is your speaker going to entertain and amuse the crowd?
2. As for recommendations and referrals
Has your group hired speakers for previous events? What was the feedback on previous speakers? Is there a budget for your speaker? Contact trusted sources for speaker recommendations and referrals:
• ask professional colleagues for speaker references and recommendations
• consult a professional speakers bureau or event planner
• search online for speakers who meet your qualifications, then contact their references
3. Perform a social media search on your potential speakers
Whether you want to hire a professional speaker, or you’re hiring someone who you think will have a good message for your audience you want to know who you’re hiring. By Googling the speaker’s name you can find:
• if they have a website with professional qualifications and experience
• are they on social media networks such as Twitter or LinkedIn
• do they have videos with speaking clips
4. Talk to your speaking prospects personally
If you’re charged with finding a keynote speaker for your event, don’t take someone else’s word that the speaker has the “right” tone and demeanor for your audience. Invest the time to talk with your potential speakers and make sure they are a good fit for your event.
• a telephone or Skype call can make sure that the person you are hiring is the speaker you are expecting
• confirm the speaker is qualified on your topic, understands the event and demographic details, and discuss any contract issues
• ask questions to confirm your potential speaker can respond impromptu, and not just read a pre-written speech
5. Clearly document any fees, speaker requirements and event details
No one wants any surprises or disappointments the day of your event. Discuss and document the details of the speaker’s services so that
• if the speaker is being paid, are they to be paid in advance? in installments?
• does your speaker require you to provide a slide projector, a microphone or a screen?
• are there handouts or speaker slides available
• will the speaker be talking during dinner, will there be a Q&A, or meet and greet?
• does the speaker have a book available for sale? Will you have a book signing, or photo opportunities?
Hiring a speaker for your event is an important task to assure the overall success of the event. You want to hire the right speaker so that your audience is educated, entertained, or motivated. And the speaker wants to meet your expectations so that your are happy with their presentation, and give good recommendations and referrals.
Invest the time in hiring the right speaker so your event is a success!