One of the most refreshing differences between booking a speaker and an entertainment headliner is the amount of direct contact and discussion that is available to you. An entertainer will have a terrific, road-tested, and basically set show that is handled by agents, personal managers, road managers, tech managers, and other handlers (personal assistants, etc.).
On the other hand, most speakers are easily accessible once they are booked, and are quite open to discussing the event’s particulars. You will be provided with a pre-program questionnaire to complete and we will review it with you as the event nears. This allows for a degree of tailoring and customization that your audience will appreciate.
Speakers have simpler riders. For those of you currently wading your way through that 42-page rider including pyrotechnical displays, rehearsal calls for a 17-piece orchestra, five spotlight operators, and those dressing room extras, you can relax a bit when preparing for a speaker’s performance.
In most cases, speakers only need a microphone and the house PA system. Some speakers do have more theatrical shows: slide shows featuring spectacular photographs to illustrate creativity, or photos taken from the top of Mt. Everest by the intrepid explorer who is sharing his/her adventures with your group; a hypnosis or magic act that enforces a business lesson. However, the additional tech that the speakers require is what most hotels and other venues should already have on hand.
|1. DO YOUR PREP WORK|
|There are several questions you will need to have answered before you can even begin to decide on whom you will chose to speak at your event.
These questions include:
a. What is your objective for this event? Is it simply because it’s an annual occasion? Or, is there a specific reason, such as the introduction and launching of a new product or a new marketing strategy? Is it a user’s group conference, an incentive reward get away, a sales training conference, or a motivational rally? Why is this audience being brought together?
b. Who will be in the audience? What are the attendee’s positions in the organization? It’s also helpful to know the demographics of the audience.
c. What are the challenges the organization (specifically this audience) is facing?
d. What are the audience’s expectations for this meeting? What do they think they need to get out of it?
e. And most importantly, what do you (the organizers of the meeting) believe will best benefit this audience, both professionally and personally? In other words, in what way do you want your participants to be different (knowledge-wise and motivationally) after the meeting?
|Only after answering these questions, will you know exactly what it is you want to accomplish. And you can begin to decide on which presenter you’ll hire to help you achieve your objectives. Visit our Meeting Planner Questionnaire for a helpful checklist to make your decision making easier.|
|2. DO YOUR RESEARCH|
|Booking a speaker on one recommendation or merely because you heard that they are a good speaker is not good enough. A speaker who is a huge hit with one audience may be totally inappropriate or fall flat with another. So it’s not just the quality of the presenter that makes the difference, it’s also their appropriateness for your particular audience and its specific needs. When looking for your event’s speaker, you must never forget the needs of your audience.
|Following are some of the traits you need to consider when deciding on a speaker.|
|The days of fluff have puffed by. Contemporary audiences want take-home value. Your chances for success are multiplied if you choose a speaker whose message is tailored (or, at least, appropriate) for your audience and accomplishes your objectives. Unless your objective is simply to entertain with a humorist at your banquet, you should judge a speaker’s presentation not just by whether the audience will enjoy it (even thought that’s very important), but also by its ability to stimulate, provoke thought, inspire, and motivate your group to action. The exception, of course, is if you’re looking for a celebrity merely for “name value” (although many celebrities happen to also be excellent speakers). Some questions to ask in selecting a speaker are:|
|a. Does the message conform to my organization’s philosophy and policy?
b. Is the message appropriate for my particular audience?
c. Is the message timely and relevant to the theme and purpose of our meeting?
d. Does the message complement the other presenters on the program?
|Speakers need to “walk the talk.” If they aren’t authorities on their subject, then they are not likely to adequately inform, motivate, inspire, or impact your audience. For example, if the topic is leadership, they need to have been a leader or have done extensive research on the country’s top leaders. No matter how charismatic a speaker, your audience will turn off if the presenter is poorly informed or inauthentic.|
|When you decide on a speaker, you’re not just buying a message, you’re also hiring the messenger. You’ll want someone with both something to say and who can say it in an interesting and entertaining manner. Writing and speaking are not necessarily related skills. A bright, pithy author can be a cold clod on the platform. The brilliant athlete on the field may be less than brilliant on the podium. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t many authors and athletes who are also excellent speakers; you just need to make sure that you will get the type of program you want. The best way to do this is by seeing a live performance. A secondary option is viewing video clips. These will at least give you an indication of the speaker’s style.|
|3. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP|
|Now that you know what’s involved in hiring a speaker, how can you make the process easier? The simplest way is working with a reputable Speakers Bureau. This can save you time, money, and energy. A professional Speakers Bureau can save a meeting planner many hours of unnecessary investigative work, because they are already continually involved in doing research on speakers. So they already know most of the better professional presenters and should have the ability to recognize who is best at what they do and the capability to guide you by suggesting the kinds of programs most suitable for any given situation. The cost of working with Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau is generally the same as going directly to the speaker.
Choosing the right Speakers Bureau is as crucial as choosing the right speaker. Both can make you look good and earn you kudos. A reliable Speakers Bureau can be invaluable to the success of your meeting. They will work closely with you, until well after your meeting is over, taking care of much of the detail work.