If you do this early on in your career, adding to it as you soak up more knowledge through experience, you can avoid many of the pitfalls that can beset an inexperienced organiser.
The list of top tips will help you to work your way through the whole process in an efficient and methodical manner. Begin by deciding whether you wish to book your speaker through an agency, or direct with the individual. This is pretty much down to personal choice and the option you find the easiest.
Make sure you book early – usually between three and six months in advance. If your chosen speaker is well known, they are likely to be in great demand and they could have a full diary months ahead. Book as soon as possible to make sure you don’t miss out.
Before signing any contract with a speaker, set up a face-to-face appointment to talk with them. This is the time to discuss in detail your expectations and requirements before committing to any written agreement. It gives you a chance to make sure you’re on the same page. If there’s a dress code, put it in the contract.
It’s also a good idea to make sure the speaker’s message is supported by your major shareholders – otherwise, the expense of hiring the speaker will bring little return. In terms of the costs, make sure you have also budgeted for the speaker’s full expenses and not just their fee. Check whether they stipulate they require first class travel, or whether they will be accompanied by a companion.
Clarify in advance whether your speaker will be selling their own products, such as books – ascertain whether they will be autographed so you know what to expect. Check whether the speaker is available for a “meet and greet” session with VIP guests.
Clarify whether it will be an interactive session – attendees learn more when this is the case. Although the speech needs to be informative, participants need to be entertained too. Meetings can be way too serious – it’s possible to be amused while still learning an important message.
Make sure you know exactly what to expect and whether the speech will have a degree of entertainment – depending on the subject matter, of course. If it’s covering a serious issue, it wouldn’t be appropriate for it to have a light-hearted slant.
The speaker contract should include the date and time of the event, any additional participation requirements, such as a meet and greet session, travel arrangements and expenses reimbursement. It seems obvious that these details are required, but if they aren’t written into the contract, any misunderstandings could lead to legal issues afterwards.
It should also stipulate the subject matter of the speech, the room set-up and the speaker’s AV requirements, plus any company policies and procedures that need to be noted.
Finally, after the event, presuming everything has gone to plan, make sure the speaker is paid promptly. It gives your company a bad reputation if your speaker isn’t paid on time – news travels fast in the events industry and tardiness could deter future speakers from wishing to enter into a contract with your company.
When organising a meeting or conference, make sure you choose a suitable venue that will meet all your needs. &Meetings is happy to help you through the process of hiring affordable meeting rooms in London. Give us a call on 0800 073 0499 for further assistance.