Regardless of what type of event you are hosting, if you plan to book a speaker, choosing the right speaker for your event can be overwhelming. However, no decision can be more critical to the impact your event can have. An effective speaker can inspire, motivate, entertain, and educate, which can not only create a memorable event, but establish a deeper relationship to your brand. Here is some guidance as you begin your search:
- Understand your audience: Knowing your audience is key, so ask yourself these questions:
- Who will be attending the event?
- Are they required to attend or will the speaker help draw new attendees?
- What do you want your audience to take away from the event?
- What has worked best with your last event(s)?
The answers will guide you in the right direction to start your search.
- Define the purpose of bringing in a speaker: Most events fall in one of three categories, either an internal employee event, external customer/client event, or a ticketed conference. The type of event you are hosting will help dictate whether you need to use your speaker to draw attendees or whether attendance is mandatory and name recognition becomes less important.If you are creating an internal or external company event, you will need to decide whether you are bringing someone in to speak on a subject-specific to your industry, or someone outside your industry to provide motivation, inspiration, levity, or that “wow” factor.
- Specify the purpose of your event: Is it to inspire, educate, entertain, or motivate? The goal of your event will determine the type of speaker you need. For example, a motivational speaker might be right for a sales conference, while a celebrity might be more appealing for a high-net-worth client summit.
- Set a budget: No one likes to spend money, even if it’s your company’s! Speaker fees can range from $5,000 – $1,000,000. It’s important to understand how much you’re willing to spend before starting your search. Remember, a higher price doesn’t always mean a better fit, and there is no rule you have to spend your entire budget. However, determining a budget will help focus the search on practical options.
- Look at both content and style: Online research can be a great tool to understand who a speaker is and what they can do. We recommend reviewing bios, speech topics and testimonials to narrow your search, but video is the best indicator of performance. Watching a speaker on stage will give you a good sense of not only what someone speaks about, but the way they speak and whether their content and style match your event goals and event personality.
- Evaluate their relevance: The speaker’s message should be timely and relevant to your audience. It’s also beneficial if they can tailor their speech to tie in directly with the theme or purpose of your event.
- Establish your event parameters: When you contact any speakers, the more information you can share, the better information you’ll get back. At the very least, it’s helpful to provide location, company, audience size, date and schedule, including any flexible timing, past speakers, and clearly define what you are looking for from the speaker.
- Check availability: As you get closer to making a decision, make sure the speakers you are exploring are available on your event date by providing them the date, location and any other pertinent details available. However, note that most speakers will only provide professional availability, and require an offer to confirm availability. Like anyone else, speakers all have a variety of other commitments, personal and professional. They may be willing to move existing commitments if you make an offer, but without all of the details, nothing is guaranteed.
- Have a Plan B: Things can go wrong, and speakers can decline an invitation for any number of reasons. It’s best to have a backup plan and second option should your first choice not work out.
Booking a speaker can be a complicated process, but like buying a house, a car, or any other expensive product, it’s important to have a plan, do your research, set a budget, and if you need support, work with someone who can aid you throughout the process.