Mistake #1: Not Matching Your Meeting Objectives with the Speakers Expertise
Let's say you want to rivet your clients loyalty to your firm by having a periodic Client Appreciation Program. Your goal is to provide them and their guests with real value, so that they will sincerely appreciate the devotion that your firm has to them and their families.
Accordingly, you want to bring them a speaker who will bring you the most bang for your carefully spent buck. You dont want a speaker who is primarily an entertainer (sizzle); instead, you want one who is a real expert with a powerful message (steak) for your clients and their guests, but who will
also be able to present the program in an entertaining and motivating styleto rivet their attention.
Selecting the perfect speaker for your event is like treading through a minefield, without being aware of where the mines are buried. There are at least 7 common mistakes that planners make when hiring speakers. This white paper will guide you through that minefield toward a very successful outcome.
Having a thorough knowledge of the needs and objectives of your audience is a must before you even begin looking for a speaker. For example, do you believe that your clients and their guests want to be motivated to action, or are they simply interested in being entertained? Perhaps they wish to be entertained, but also leave with a motivating message. You can determine the speaker's strengths by viewing a video demo, checking references, and then matching those strengths to your meeting's objectives.
Mistake #2: Not Choosing a Speaker Who Will Customize His/Her Speech to the Specific Needs, Objectives and Goals of Your Audience
Does the speaker have a "one size fits all" presentation or will the speaker customize and tailor the speech to match the needs and goals of your particular audience? A good question to ask yourself is, "Will my attendees feel as if the speaker really understood their issues? Also, what kinds of actions would you like your attendees to engage in immediately after hearing the speech? In short, what specific goals do you have for your attendees to attain from this speech?
For example, perhaps you want your clients and their guests to overcome their fear of investing during this economic climate. Or, you want them to learn how to live happier and healthier. Determining the answers to these questions puts you are in a great position to look for a speaker with testimonials that will speak to the goals you have for your audience.
Mistake #3: Not Doing Your Due Diligence in Researching the Speaker You Choose
Watch out for speakers in transition; that is, academicians, celebrities or athletes who have decided to try their hand at speaking or entertainers without any academic credibility, seeking speaking opportunities strictly based on their name recognition. Get a biography, and carefully research the references the speaker provides to you. Dont take the speakers word for it. Call the references and ask the tough questions.
Mistake #4: Not Choosing a Speaker Who is Widely Regarded as a Bona- Fide Expert in His/Her Field and you choose the subject to be covered.
There is a wide range of professional speakers available, according to expertise, experience speaking, name recognition, best-selling authors, sports figures, etc. If you are looking for a speaker who is recognized for her/his expertise, look for academic credentials, membership in professional organizations (such as the National Speakers Association),awards and certifications. You want to promote to your clients that the speaker they will be hearing is a real expert and the value they receive will be substantial. This, of course, helps to rivet their loyalty to your firm for providing such a wonderful service to them. HINT: If you speaker is not a member of the National Speakers Association, find out why not. This is the main association for professional speakers and if your speaker is not a member, that may be a red flag.
Have the speaker give you a list of subjects that he/she is an expert in and you choose the topic.
Mistake #5: Not Getting a Clear Understanding of Your Speakers Style
There is no substitute for actually observing speakers in person. That way you will learn exactly what you do and dont like, in order to determine if this is the right speaker for your audience and your goals. Obviously, this will normally not be possible, so the next best thing is to view the speakers video, preferably filmed in front of a similar audience to yours and, again, contact the references provided, from people who have recently heard this speaker present.
Mistake #6: Not Choosing a Speaker With Whom You Can Speak Directly In Making Your Decision and Planning Your Program
Many professional and celebrity speakers are so busy (or arrogant) that they have a staff to deal with meeting planners. I have heard some say that they have their staff do all of the planning, writing, etc. and they just show up and deliver the speech. Would you and/or your committee feel comfortable not being able to coordinate your plans directly with your speaker? Wouldnt you want to be sure your speaker understands your needs, etc.? Wouldnt you want to get a feel for this person over the phone before the presentation takes place? Most planners prefer direct discussions with the speaker and my belief is that all speakers should make themselves available to put the planner and committee at ease prior to the booking. You may also want the speaker to mingle with your people the evening before the speech. Speakers who balk at this or try to charge extra should be avoided!
Mistake #7: Not Hiring a Speaker Who Will Unconditionally Guarantee Your Complete Satisfaction with His Work
This is a difficult one, because VERY FEW professional speakers offer such a guarantee. Explanations from speakers about why they do not guarantee their performances ranges from You cant please everyone to The meeting planner will say she/he was not happy, just to avoid paying me. Having such a discussion with a potential speaker about why she/he does not guarantee their work should speak volumes to you regarding whether you want to hire this person, so go ahead and ask the question! A committed professional speaker should not have a problem guaranteeing your complete satisfaction or you dont pay!
If you want a powerful speaker who will engage your audience and GUARANTEE the success of your event, call Dr. Jack today. Dr. Jack Has CouchWill Travel!
Jack Singer, Ph.D.
President & CEO
Psychologically Speaking, with Dr. Jack Singer, LLC
Originally published on February 28, 2013 by SpeakerMatch Speakers Bureau