Tips for Finding the
Your speaker or trainer
selection is one of the most important elements in a successful meeting.
Selecting the right presenter for your meeting can be a daunting task, as
speakers are available in every fee range and specialty topic. The
Canadian Association of Professional Speakers as a founding member
along with the National
Speakers Association of
the International Federation for Professional Speakers comprised
of more than 5,000 professional speakers, trainers, and facilitators have
compiled these tips to help make your meeting a success.
Right Speaker or Trainer
1. 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 someone to motivate the group to
sell? Are you looking for after-dinner entertainment with a message?
2. 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. Ask for a
hold and follow up to confirm ASAP.
Consider how much time you have to fill and where that time falls
in your overall program. If your time slot is flexible, a professional
speaker can often tell you the right amount of time for the job. A
professional can also make recommendations about the order of topics/speakers
if one presentation will follow another. (You may not want to follow
a humorist with a detailed educational presentation.)
Factor in the fee you are willing or able to pay for a speaker. Your
search for a speaker can be narrowed or broadened based upon your
Identify the type of speaker who will best match the needs of your audience:
A speaker's expertise in a given field may be the big draw, but a well-known
name does not guarantee a professional presentation. High prices don't
always mean high quality. Will your audience and the overall program benefit
most from a celebrity; an expert in the field; a popular sports personality;
a best-selling author; or a professional speaker who has a thorough knowledge
of the appropriate topic?
4. Locate your resources:
Personal referrals are a great way to narrow your search. Ask colleagues
Speakers bureaus locate and book speakers according to your specifications
and needs. A bureau can locate speakers and quote fees. Many bureaus
specialize in particular speakers such as celebrities, authors or
athletes. Speaker's bureaus can often be found in your local phone
directory under "Speakers Bureau" or "Agent."
You can also use the internet to find bureaus.
Check out CAPS Online Directory of Professional Speakers at www.canadianspeakers.org.
Visit the NSA Online Directory for North American Speakers. www.nsaspeaker.org.
These directories contains information on professional speakers and
can be searched by topic, keyword, location, name and so on.
5. Review your options and interview your speaker candidates:
A professional speaker will be a real partner in this process. Often
they will ask questions about the needs of your audience and what
they can accomplish for you. Ask your candidates for references and,
if they are speaking in your area, ask if you can attend the program
and observe them in action.
Assure that a potential speaker has addressed groups similar to yours.
Talk with them about their experience. Ask for a biography, testimonials
and videos of their presentations, preferably before a live audience.
- Find a speaker who will tailor his or her presentation to your group.
Ask the speaker if they belong to professional associations. Also
ask what awards or certifications they have earned.
6. Select your speaker:
Hire a professional and you'll hire an ally. Professional 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 your event.
When selecting your speaker, consider that you are not paying for
the time the speaker is on the platform, but also for the hours spent
researching, preparing and customizing the presentation. Some speakers
may negotiate their fees when they are doing more than one program
for you or when they are allowed to sell their products. Ask about
Get it in writing: You should have a letter of agreement or contract
that clearly outlines the expectations of both you and your speaker. Consider:
- travel arrangements and transportation;
- accommodations 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 speaker: Share information about your group or company.
This will help the speaker become familiar with your organization, while
facilitating a customized presentation.
9. Set the stage:
Make sure the room is set up for optimum impact. Consider the number
of chairs and how they are arranged. Also consider room temperature
Stay on schedule. Although a professional will be able to "make
up" time or slow things down if needed, keeping your program
on schedule will allow your audience to get the full impact of the
program you have created for them.
Your speaker should be able to provide you with a good introduction
of themselves and their topic. The introduction should be short, energizing
and create positive expectations.
Evaluate the results: Have your audience complete evaluations on the
speaker and his/her presentation. This will allow you to gauge your results
and plan for future programs. Send copies of the evaluations and audience
feedback to your speaker.
Canadian Association of Professional Speakers stands
ready to help you with the most important element of a successful meeting--finding
the right speaker. Although we do not book or recommend specific individuals,
we're pleased to answer any of your questions. You can phone Past CAPS
National Director, co founder and Past President, CAPS Vancouver chapter,
Bob 'Idea Man' Hooey at 780-736-0009 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Canadian motivational, business and association keynote conference
speaker and inspirational corporate trainer, Bob
‘Idea Man’ Hooey today, for your next event.
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