There’s a lot I enjoy about my job and an area I have thoroughly appreciated has been working with guest speakers. Some of my best experiences in the last several years happened when the cameras weren’t rolling, sort of speak. And while the presentations were amazing, the time I spent with each guest speaker; getting them to the venue, on stage and then back to their hotel, were some of my most favorite moments with the exception of one or two. But as we all know that’s not always the case, sometimes the guest speaker experience can turn out less than spectacular.
What is a Guest Speaker?
A guest speaker is normally not associated with the event or even to those in charge of the planning and coordinating. They are asked and paid to speak at a meeting, conference or event; entertaining, sharing know-how and skill, offering encouragement and providing an outsider’s point of view. The recipe for success for a guest speaker is to enhance the event by supplying a message that hits home with the audience. Whether the gathering is big or small, a guest speaker can definitely add to the experience by providing expertise and perspective while tailoring their speech to the message or theme of the event.
An ideal guest speaker is; charismatic and gregarious, knowledgeable and experienced, sharp witted and quick thinking. And they are skilled teller of tales, who can deliver to audiences of all kinds, an insightful and significant message generating not only conversation but changes as well.
Things to Consider Prior to Booking a Guest Speaker
Whether you book a guest speaker regularly or not too often, whether you work directly or with a speakers bureau, for some, booking a guest speaker can be an overwhelming undertaking. With a marketplace that is widespread and comprehensive and with so many details and an ever changing terminology, here are a few pointers to get you started.
The first step in booking a guest speaker is to determine the budget. When planning and booking suppliers, the ultimate goal is to keep costs down and stay on budget. Take a look at the big picture and access what the speaker brings to the table in comparison to the fee. Logistically thinking speaker’s costs can fluctuate and include travel and accommodations charges, speaker experience and expertise, event size and status. So keep in mind, an outstanding speaker will most likely cost you some buckaroos.
Determine the reasons you are looking to hire a guest speaker. Are you looking to amuse, inspire, influence, educate or entertain? Various components factor in when trying to decide on the just right guest speaker to go with. Some speaker presentations are more successfully received when delivered at specific part of the day. So take the time to decide on the time-frame and the kind of speech the organization is looking for.
Get references. Sometimes the act of getting and yes checking references can seem more time consuming and irritating then it’s worth. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. References definitely say a great deal about the speaker; are they appropriate for your event, are they relatable, do they bond with the crowd and do they deliver good info. References are a perfect way of determining the quality and success of the guest speaker. And don’t forget the most critical question; All things being equal, would you book this guest speaker again?
Meeting planners definitely have a plate full of responsibilities as well as an unbelievable amount to answer for. Among so many other things, booking the right event guest speaker sits top of the to-do list. The power of the presentation and the effectiveness of a guest speaker can make all the difference; getting it right it will help to make an event great, getting it wrong will result in just the opposite.