The Amazing Race for a Great Speaker

Management Monday: How to Manage the Speaker Hiring Process

A great speaker should ignite in their audience a feeling like they’re on The Amazing Race. Their hearts should be pumping, eyes wide and spirits ready to tackle the challenge that’s been presented before them. Bringing in a speaker is a means to not only provide important information in a specific area, be it leadership or work life balance; it is a chance to elicit investment from the audience in the given topic. But, it’s an overwhelming process to track down and hire a speaker that’s a good fit. Below are some tips to consider when locating the right presenter for an event.

Quick Tips for Hiring an Event Speaker:

1)      Have a clear idea of the company’s goal in hiring a speaker and locate specialized talent. If the goal is to help employees improve office communications, hiring a speaker who specializes in communication skills will be more effective than bringing in a big-name speaker, like Sheryl Sandberg, who specializes in women’s professional issues.

2)      Make the call for speakers clear and specific. When putting out the call, publish a description of the event in mind and state the goal. Make sure to list the materials the speaker should submit, such as a short proposal, sample presentation videos (or links), past events list, testimonials and fees. This helps to filter out less interested candidates and simplifies the screening process.

3)      Remember during the process that candidates have expectations as well. Tailoring events to be keynote and speaker friendly helps to reel in stronger candidates. Price compensation competitively. Also, Professional Speaking Coach, Dr. Nick Morgan, suggests not to force speakers to compete with food by scheduling during meal times. In addition, he says to avoid insisting speakers modify their slides or graphics for the particular event and avoid demanding to see the slides before the presentation (Forbes). These are common mistakes that can cause a candidate to fall-through or not return in the future.

The right speaker can provide up-to-date industry knowledge, pull the audience into the topic and ignite growth. And although there can be bumps along the way, the speaker hiring process isn’t as big and scary as it seems. After all, as Zig Ziglar said “You can succeed at almost anything for which you have unbridled enthusiasm.”