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5 things to Consider When Booking a Speaker

For a lot of event planners, one of the most important things to consider is the selection of the right speaker or speakers. Often, the success of a conference, meeting or seminar can be judged upon the attendants’ feelings about the suitability and talent of the booked speakers. In collaboration with two of our popular […]

For a lot of event planners, one of the most important things to consider is the selection of the right speaker or speakers. Often, the success of a conference, meeting or seminar can be judged upon the attendants’ feelings about the suitability and talent of the booked speakers.

In collaboration with two of our popular keynote speakers – Technology Trends expert, Jonathan MacDonald and Technology Risk speaker, Simon Moores – we have put together some important elements to consider and keep in mind for the speaker selection process. Both speakers have great advice for planners on how to focus your research, prepare relevant questions, and best evaluate the suitability of a speaker.

Jonathan MacDonald emphasizes the need to do thorough research, keep the audience and goal of the event in mind, and ask yourself and the speaker the right questions throughout the process. The following questions are critical:

  • Which speakers will investigate an industry and company deeply then customise the content so it is contextually relevant? – You need to make sure the speaker you select is one who spends some time getting acquainted with your company, industry and your event. This will ensure that they deliver an appropriate and relevant talk.
  • Which speakers are on the cutting edge of the challenges in business, technology and society so they know the realities of today’s marketplace? – Do your research (or ask a bureau) to find the ‘hottest’ names in your industry or within the theme you need a speaker. With the help of a bureau you can find the top names within your budget.
  • What testimonials exist from other clients who wanted a similar speaker and which speaker are the testimonials about? – Testimonials are a great way to evaluate a speaker’s talent and relevance. If similar events, companies and clients have been pleased with the speaker, this certainly adds an element of credibility and relevance.

It is often tempting to select a speaker with expertise in a certain area and then ask them to incorporate ‘nice to have’ material which may be outside of their domain. Jonathan and  Simon agree that this could seriously disrupt the flow of the presentation and potentially weaken the overall message.

The message may also be further weakened if it is extended beyond an appropriate length. Many studies show that people have a tendency to drift off and lose focus when presentations exceed 30 minutes. You may have noticed that a lot of TED presentations are kept short and sweet. This is not to say that all presentations beyond 30 min should be avoided. It is simply important to evaluate the timing of various event elements and to schedule in a way that gives attendants breaks and time to refocus. Depending on the audience and theme of the event, it is often best to avoid presentations lasting longer than 60 min.

Another thing to avoid, which we have often seen ignored, is booking a speaker based on their fame. If the speaker is a well-known name but a terrible presenter, once novelty has worn off, the talk itself may not deliver as desired. Celebrity and fame does not guarantee fantastic oratory skills.

To help you keep calm and remember the tips and tricks assembled by A-Speakers with the help of our speakers, we have assembled a take-away list for you below.

 

5 Tips for Selecting the Best Speakers:

  • Find a speaker who will do their research, get to know the client, and customize their talk.
  • Let the speaker bring their A-game by staying within their area of expertise (don’t add unnecessary elements that could weaken the talk)
  • Avoid tired and unfocused participants by scheduling the event in a way that limits long presentations.
  • Pay great attention to testimonials and see if similar clients have been happy with the speaker in question.
  • Don’t select speakers purely based on fame. Make sure they are talented presenters, not just a well-known name.