Sunday, May 08, 2011

Hiring The Right Speaker For The Success Of Business Events

The meetings business is a multi-billion industry.  Seasoned meeting professionals know that there are tons of things that must come together to ensure that a program comes off without a hitch, but those who attend conferences, trade shows, conventions, seminars, sales meetings, users conferences and other gatherings only see the surface.

A glitch in the sound system that is fixed before anyone enters the room goes un-noticed.  The wrong font on the nametags is hardly an issue to the person wearing the tag.  The behind the scene decisions matter, but they are invisible.

A blah tasting meal might underwhelm the audience's taste buds, but a blah speaker will undermine their enthusiasm for being present.  The speakers, especially the first speaker, sets the tone for the whole meeting. Yet often the kick-off  keynote is some executive who gets up and drones on about the state of the business or industry.  Few meetings give much thought to into who is best to get the meeting launched.

The answer is not always the status quo. Creativity is king.

If you are planning an event you should work with everyone who will take the stage to discuss how their presentation will impact the audience.  While most meetings focus on the long-term "learning objectives", they discredit the power of the short term "motivation objectives".  A speaker who cannot raise the level of excitement in an audience will not positively impact the meeting, regardless of the knowledge they share.

Just because someone is smart or has done something cool does NOT mean they belong on the stage.

Hiring the right speaker for the success of a business event is critical.  The best meeting professionals spend a lot of time searching for the right speakers to headline their conferences.  They are not as concerned with celebrity as they are with impact.

If your company or organization is having a meeting that will require outside speakers, it is best to start early in your search for those who can deliver powerful presentations.  Understand that professional speakers charge money for their speaking.  However, you usually get a better presentation from a professional than you do from a "free" industry speaker.  This does not mean that there are not great "free" speakers out there, but they often are speaking to promote their main business.  This can lead speakers who deliver a sales pitch to your audience.  Of course you can have the same issues with paid professionals.  The best thing to do is to talk with people who have seen the speaker (do not simply rely on videos) to understand what their message contains.

Be clear with everyone you consider hiring as to what you want from their presentation.  Do not just let a speaker "wing it".  Long conversations when you hire them and then again the week before the presentation will help prevent them from getting off track from your goals for audience.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

The Conference Catalyst

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