Tips for Hiring the Best Presenter for your Event
You have been given the task of hiring an event speaker. Now what? I always run through the list below to choose the right communicator for your event:
1. What is the purpose of the event? As an event coordinator, you must decipher what the client hopes attendees to pull from the conference, and within that context, you can decide on a list of potential speakers to fit into that context.
2. What role will the speaker play in that purpose? Once you understand what the purpose of the event is, you must understand from the client what role the speaker will play. Is the speaker there for an opening or closing ceremony? As entertainment for lunch? As a technical speaker during the conference? This will determine the types of speakers you go after.
3. Who are the conference attendees and what will it take to engage them? As an event coordinator, it is vital that you have a clear understanding of who will be attending the conference, their backgrounds, what they have in common [why are they together at this conference], the average age, gender make up and other statistics so that you can find an appropriate speaker that will relate to the audience and the conference attendees can relate to.
4. How technical is the conference? If the purpose of the speaker is to engage the audience on his/her technical expertise in direct relation to the conference, then you have to hire someone with the background to relate to the audience on their level.
5. What is the budget to bring in the speaker? This will determine the level of speaker that you can go after and will either result in a very large or small list of potential speakers. If your budget is very high, you have to ascertain whether it is worth bringing in the “celebrity” or high-end speaker that will surely increase the number of attendees – but will they take the time to truly engage the audience that is in front of them?
6. How engaged is the speaker with what you are trying to accomplish? When you interview potential speakers, how many questions do they ask you about the conference, the attendees, the purpose of the meeting, and other relevant issues surrounding his or her meaning for being there? Every speaker has a canned presentation. What is important is how willing he or she is willing to tailor or remake the canned presentation so that it relates to your audience. Without the speaker caring about the audience in front of them, the presentation will surely fall on its face.
7. Have you checked the references that they have given you and then tried to find additional offbeat references, as well? Call the references they provide. While it’s true that everyone will provide positive references, you may be able to ascertain inferences between the lines in your conversations about the speaker’s performance. Also, if you can, go on line and see if you can find other instances where they spoke at places/events that are not on the reference list and give them a call.
8. Have you heard them speak? Please do not hire anyone without going to see them speak or at least viewing several videos of them speaking to audiences. Are they good speakers? Do they engage with the audience? Do they draw the audience in? Have other people on your team view it as well. Your impression may not and will not be the same as the person next to you.
While this list isn’t fail safe, it you take the time to run through these items when selecting a speaker, I believe your chance of success is greater. Happy Speaker Hunting!