Selecting the right presenter to set an upbeat, positive mood at your event is no easy task. A presenter 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 audience and their specific needs.
For over thirty years, we have rigorously tested the rules for judging what makes a speaker successful, and how to best place them for variety of conference programs. We have come to appreciate the importance of having a qualified speaker who is also appropriate. The following are some of the traits we feel a good speaker must have.
|Content Rules. Contemporary audiences want take-home value. Your chances for success are multiplied if you choose a speaker with an appropriate message, regardless of whether they have a “name.” Unless your objective is simply to entertain, you should judge a speaker’s presentation not just by whether the audience will enjoy it (although enjoyment is an important factor) but also by its ability to stimulate, provoke thought, inspire and motivate your group to action. Some questions to ask in selecting a speaker are:|
|(a) Do they have a message
(b) What exactly is the message?
(c) Does the message conform to my organization’s philosophy and policy?
(d) Is the message appropriate for my particular audience?
(e) Is the message relevant to the theme and purpose of our meeting?
(f) Is the message timely?
(g) Does the message complement the other speakers (keynote and breakout session speakers) on the program?
|If a presenter is not an authority on their subject, then they are not likely to adequately inform, motivate, inspire or impact you audience. A speaker needs to “walk the talk.” If they are not genuine, the audience will pick it up. If your presenter speaks on success, they need to be an example of that success. If they title their self as a leadership speaker, they need to have been a leader. No matter how charismatic the speaker, your audience will turn off if someone is poorly informed or inauthentic.|
|When you decide on a speaker, you’re not just buying a message, you’re hiring the messenger. You’ll want someone with both something to say and who can say it in an interesting manner. Writing and speaking are not necessarily related skills. A bright, pithy author can be a lump on the platform. The brilliant athlete on the field may be less than brilliant on the podium. Remember, public speaking is akin to show business. So when deciding on a presenter, choose someone with both a message and an exiting, attention-getting presentation style.|
|The presenter may be an authority on a topic by having the proper credentials and excel in delivery, but are they dependable? The last thing you need is to be hassled with the “divas” of the platform. Presenters need to forward biographies, photos, A/V and tech requirements, travel itineraries, etc., in a timely fashion and promptly return phone calls.
Meeting planners don’t need to develop an ulcer worrying about whether the presenter will show up on time or use good judgment in dress, manners and means of expression. To alleviate any doubts you need to thoroughly check the presenters’ past performances on these counts with previous meeting planners. At Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau, we adhere to the old maxim, “When in doubt, leave them out.” There are too many excellent and reliable speakers that we don’t need to put up with any unnecessary risk.
|5. Track Record|
|For most corporate companies and associations, it’s a bottom-line world. Results are always the best credentials. A presenter needs to have an excellent reputation and verifiable references. A presenter who occasionally has an off day is not good enough. You don’t want that occasion to be at your meeting. Presenters are paid to deliver, and true professionals do it every time. Your conference cost too much and your audience is too important for you to play speaker roulette. Always do your homework (at Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau, we do it for you) by thoroughly checking the presenters before booking them. Some of the things we do that we recommend is watching videos, listening to interviews, calling other meeting planners who have previously used the presenter. And if you can, personally preview the presenter at a live presentation.|
|6. Check References|
|Before hiring a speaker, get their most recent references and don’t be reluctant to call and email several of them. Most meeting planners will be happy to answer questions about a presenter they’ve used. Following is some of the information you may want:|
|(a) Quality and style of presenter.
(b) Dynamics of presenter.
(c) Were there any off-color remarks?
(d) Audience reaction.
(e) Knowledge of material.
(f) Relevance of material to audience.
(g) How much customizing and tailoring was done?
(h) Cooperation and overall attitude of presenter.
(i) Quality and promptness of publicity materials sent (i.e., photos, bio, into, etc.).
(j) Did presenter arrive on time and finish their presentation on time?
(k) Would you feel confident recommending the presenter to a friend?
|7. Conference Calls/Interviews|
|A conference call with a speaker can sometimes give you helpful clues to their personality and understanding of your organization, audience and objectives. For that reason, Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau is always happy to arrange a conference call with a presenter, before you make a final decision. It’s especially important that you speak with presenters who are industry experts as opposed to professional speakers; you’ll want to check out their vibrancy.|