What Meeting Planners Should Look for in a Speaker

December 08, 2015

Today's companies and organizations rely on a variety of marketing methods to meet the needs of their customer base. One of the popular networking methods that has not gone out of style in this century is the use of public speakers for conventions, trade shows, and other special events. A professional public speaker is someone who can bring a lot of energy to a crowd, especially with the right combination of humor, insider tips, teambuilding activities, and powerful stories. Meeting planners are always on the lookout for fresh talent, people who can make their annual event memorable for all in attendance. Planners should specify what kind of speaker they are seeking and match the personality, professional resume, and speaking style of the individual to their event. Some roles include: keynote motivational speakers, smaller session-based motivational speakers, professional development speakers, and change management speakers. For every type of speaker, planners should conduct some kind of survey research to gauge the audience's expectations and needs. Audiences are not always what event organizers expect or project. Some events have multiple meetings going on at once and require a well-planned program of speakers who can respond to their diverse target audiences. Here are some qualities that meeting planners look for in professional speakers desired for their event: 1. Energy and enthusiasm. It takes a lot of passion for a topic and a love of speaking in front of a crowd to keep the attention of people throughout a professional speech. A speech could last anywhere from five minutes to a few hours. A speaker should have a record of speaking at similar events and getting a good evaluation from past meeting organizers or members of an organization. 2. Wealth of experience. For professional audiences and special interest organizations, the speaker will need a deep background in his or her subject matter. This may come from hears of working in an industry or for a cause, experience based on specialized graduate work, previous publications on the topic, or years of speaking on the topic. Great professional speakers have a combination of these things, which makes for powerful storytelling. 3. Ability to research and prepare. It stands to reason that a good speaker can give a motivational speech on almost any topic. This surprises some meeting planners who have not worked with a diverse array of professional speakers. With enough preparation for a topic and special insights into the people who will attend an event, a speaker can customize a speech for the crowd and please many in the crowd. 4. Ability to gauge an audience's level of participation. A good speaker is going to respond to the audience that is in front of him. People exhibit signs in their body language, such as leaning forward, to show that they are engaged in a speech. They also smile and clap more and appear more relaxed. A speaker adapts the material when the initial plan for speaking is not successful. This might also include giving extra time to a popular segment of his speech and not covering all remaining segments that he had originally planned. 5. Wit and humor. Professional speakers also realize that they might be speaking on a topic that is dry, such as discount office furniture. They have to be skillful at lightening up the crowd with well-timed jokes. These are good to use in every segment of a speech as long as they do not detract from accomplishing the purpose of the speech as requested by meeting planners. Before you hire a professional speaker, you can look for online information about his or her experience. Typically, expert speakers have well-developed websites and blogs, which may feature video footage of their past speeches. They can provide references for other clients who have hired them to speak in the past. Be sure who you are getting and what kind of speeches they can successfully deliver before paying any deposits or signing any contracts for your next public event.

Lindsey Patterson is a freelance writer who specializes in technology and the latest social trends, specifically involving social media. You can reach Lindsey at misslindseypatterson@gmail.com.

Originally published on by SpeakerMatch Speakers Bureau