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Guest Speaker

Tips on choosing a guest speaker

Your guest speaker selection is one of the most important elements in a successful meeting. Selecting the right business speaker for your meeting can be a daunting task, as the fee range is vast and topics are varied.


Determine the needs of your audience

A thorough knowledge of the needs of your group is essential in selecting the right speaker. Does your meeting require that the audience leave with specific or technical information? Do you need a motivational speaker to inspire the group to sell? Are you looking for after-dinner entertainment with a message, or corporate entertainment for a conference closing session?

Establish your date, time and budget

Start looking for a speaker as soon as the date for your meeting is set. Many speakers book engagements up to a year in advance and you will want to get on their calendar as soon as possible.

Factor in the fee you are willing or able to pay for a speaker. Your search can then be narrowed or broadened based upon your budget.

Selecting a speaker

Motivational speakers understand that your reputation is riding on their performance. Their experience with hundreds of audiences can add to your peace of mind and to the success of the event.

A well-known name does not guarantee a professional presentation. High prices don’t always mean high quality.

Ask for references and, if they are speaking in your area, ask if you can attend the programme and observe them in action.

When selecting your motivational speaker, consider that you are not only paying for the time the speaker is on the stage but also for the hours spent researching, preparing and customising their presentation. Some speakers may negotiate their fees when they are doing more than one programme for you or when they are allowed to sell their products. Ask about your options.

Attend morning workshops where speakers are invited to present a short talk on their preferred topic. These are great opportunities to not only meet the speakers but to also assess their performance and subject matter.

In addition, a speaker’s web site will give you an instant “brochure” which may help you make a decision.

Types of Guest Speakers

The HUMOURIST is someone who delivers humour with a message and will provide a very entertaining performance. Depending on your audience you may want to query the amount of swearing and ask for a ‘toned’ down presentation !

The MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER provides an inspiring and uplifting program usually built around powerful stories, often based on personal experiences.

The CELEBRITY SPEAKER may provide a name to draw people to your event. Some celebrity speakers are terrific speakers and some are just average, but you’re normally buying their fame and not their platform skills. Celebrity speakers often have the highest fees.

The INDUSTRY SPEAKER is a person with expertise in a particular industry who lectures on a specific topic. Industry speakers are generally not known for their entertainment or motivational value but are brought in to inform and take an in depth look at a particular topic.

The PERFECT FIT SPEAKER is ideally what every group is looking for when hiring a speaker. But, there are some motivational speakers who have the talent, background, experience and versatility to truly be a perfect fit for many different types of industries and organisations.

Confirming your Speaker

In South Africa, most speakers are booked through a speaker bureau.   A letter of agreement or contract that clearly outlines the expectations between the speaker and your company will be sent to you on confirmation of the booking.

Additional items which are not usually included in the speaker fee are –

•    travel arrangements and transportation;

•    accommodation and meals;

•    fees, reimbursements and payment terms;

•    whether you want the speaker to attend social events;

•    if the speaker may sell products and if so, how this will be handled;

•    an agreement on any audio- or videotaping of the presentation;

•    cancellation policies;

•    audio/visual requirements;

•    and legal implications, if any, your contract may contain.

Work with your guest speaker

Share information about your group or company. This will help the speaker become familiar with your organisation, while facilitating a customised presentation.

Send your newsletter or any corporate literature from your company for the speaker to review – this would include key people, buzzwords or insider news and views.

Give the speaker a clear outline of what you expect.

Be specific about the size and demographics of your audience.

Let the speaker know in advance about other speakers on the programme. This gives the speaker the opportunity to build on (and not duplicate) what the other speakers say.

Set the stage

Make sure the room is set up for optimum impact. Consider your audience size and your seating plan. Also consider room temperature and lighting.

Stay on schedule. Although a professional will be able to “make up” time or slow things down if needed, keeping your programme on schedule will allow your audience to get the full impact of the program you have created for them.

Your guest speaker will be able to provide you with a good written introduction of themselves and their topic in advance of their presentation. The introduction should be short, energising and create positive expectations. Ask a senior colleague to introduce the speaker.

Evaluate the results

At the end of your event, ask all delegates to complete an event survey. Include a question on your speaker and his / her presentation. This will allow you to gauge the results and plan for future talks. Send copies of the evaluations to your guest speaker.

Source : www.keynote-speaker-motivational.com

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