Good speakers are everywhere. They are right under your own noses in your Sunday School classes, in your congregations, in your women’s groups, they are down the street from you, across town or across the country. With a little patience and the posts in this series, you will find the perfect speaker for your next event.
Last week, we looked at the foundation you need to lay to begin preparing to book a speaker. Today we talk about the nuts and bolts of booking one.
So you’ve determined what you want your audience to come away with, what you need, when, where and how much you can spend. You’ve even found a few great candidates through a speaker’s bureau and online. Now what?
1. Review your options and interview your speaker candidates
This sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many groups will try to handle most of the business of booking a speaker via email. Insist on interviewing your speaker candidates at least once.
- 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.
2. 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 the event.
3. 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– will your speaker fly or drive? Booking a local speaker is a great way to save money in this area. Be prepared to reimburse mileage, travel expenses or a flat transportation fee.
- Accommodations and meals- I prefer to stay with a congregation member. If this is the case, make sure to create a space for your speaker to be alone. We’ll talk more about how to make a speaker feel welcome in a later post.
- fees, reimbursements and payment terms- I think I’ve covered this sufficiently. Don’t think you need to pay an arm and a leg for a great speaker, but do plan to pay something. Work out how you are going to pay, where the payment is sent to and what format it needs to be in.
- Whether you want the speaker to attend social events – this is especially important during conferences. If you are going to request the speaker attend events (dinners, meet and greets and the like) outside the scheduled speaking time, let them know ahead of time, while you are discussing the contract.
- If the speaker may sell products and if so, how this will be handled- This is most often how I make ends meet. Often speaker’s will lower their fee if they are given the opportunity to sell merchandise.
- An agreement on any audio- or videotaping of the presentation- Oh, this one has gotten me in trouble before. Specifically discuss whether it is ok to record the presentation or not and whether it is ok to sell the recording of said presentation later.
- Cancellation policies- What happens if the conference is cancelled or if the speaker gets sick? Talk about these things beforehand. They do happen. It doesn’t have to be a crisis if it’s discussed prior.
- Audio/visual requirements- What kind of equipment (microphones, projector, sound, video, etc) does she need?
- and legal implications, if any, your contract may contain.
4. Work with your speaker
Share information about your group or . This will help the speaker become familiar with your organization, while facilitating a customized presentation.
- Send your newsletter or anything which would include key people, buzz words 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 program. This gives the speaker the opportunity to build on (and not duplicate) what the other speakers say.
5. 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 and lighting.
- 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.
6. 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 to your speaker.
So there you go, the steps to finding your best speaker ever! I hope it helps make the process easier for you! If you have any questions on this post, please feel free to comment below.