When you hire a speaker, you usually find yourself paying pretty good money to someone you may not know very well. The process becomes an act of faith and trust. You have to trust that the speaker will show up and deliver. You may be worried about what they’re going to say. Will it be appropriate, relevant, and up to date? Will it be evidence-based? Will they stick to time? Is it going to be boring?
And let’s face it – a lot of speakers give the same speech over and over, regardless of who the audience is. You want to be sure that the information at your conference is tailored specifically to tick all your boxes – and give everyone the stuff they want to learn.
You want people to come to you at the end of the day and say “Wow, thanks for organising today. I took so much away from the conference.”
These are seven things that matter when hiring a speaker:
Before you hire anyone who wants to speak at your event, consider the following points:
- They’re using social media to engage an audience. This illustrates to you that the speaker has something to say, can provide meaningful content, and is committed to engaging with your audience. Plus, if it’s relevant to you this can also be used to promote your event with that speaker.
- They require payment. Now and then you might fluke it with a freebie. But the reality is that good professional speakers put significant time (often years or even decades) into their talks, develop powerful and carefully constructed messages, and care deeply about the outcome for participants in the session.
- They know their AV. While not an indication of a ‘good’ speaker, those who do this often care about the ratio of the powerpoint slides, the quality of the sound, and the way audiences will interact with technology during the presentation. Such insight shows the speaker is serious about the presentation and know what they are doing.
- Slide design quality is high. No speaker should ever be using black on white Times New Roman or Comic Sans if they are taking their presentations seriously. Similarly, slides should not contain large amounts of text, too many points, or WordArt from the 90’s. You can tell a lot about a speaker by their slides.
- They want to know your audience. Be wary of speakers who aren’t curious about who they’ll be speaking to. You don’t want the same-same talk recycled over and over again. You want content specific to your audience. Speakers should be asking attendees’ roles, ages, education, and expected outcomes at a minimum.
- They’re interactive. Let’s face it. Even good speakers can lose the attention of their audience in our age of digital pre-occupation. Great speakers don’t just speak at your audience. They speak with them. They engage. They’re interactive. They have the confidence in themselves and their material to actually let go of the script and be helpful.
- They know that content is king – and they deliver. After all, that’s why you’re really hiring them. Make sure they have a track record of providing great content. You can find it through their previous customer testimonials, their books, blogs, tweets, facebook posts, podcasts, and youtubes.)