Finding the best speaker for your meeting

When you’re searching for a guest speaker for your event, it’s important to remember that there’s no “one size fits all” solution. Some organisers have learned this the hard way, after colleagues have said those famous words, “I know a great speaker.”

Before you know it, you’re asking who they are and how much their fee is, only to find they’re not suited to your audience. Someone who may be a great after-dinner speaker may not fare so well at a national sales meeting, for example.

Similarly, just because someone has written a best-selling book, it doesn’t automatically follow that they will be able to stand in front of delegates at a conference and present a polished speech.

Leonardo di Caprio in the Wolf of Wall Street

So just how do you find the best speaker for your meeting?
Certainly, you will need someone who’s an expert on their subject, so an author who has written a book in your field may be an appropriate guest speaker, but you should find out in advance if this will be the case.

Many event organisers focus on their budget first and choose a speaker based on their available resources. Although the budget is undoubtedly an important part of the equation, there’s far more to it than booking a recommended speaker via telephone or email and meeting them on the day.

Include your potential speaker in the planning stages, as you need to focus on how they will interact with the audience and the overall content of the event. Be sure they’re fully aware of your expectations.

Before you choose a potential speaker, think about your attendees’ profile and the message you want them to take from the meeting. Once you’ve defined your aim, it isn’t simply a case of filling the guest speaker slot. Instead, you need to focus on the purpose of the event and the goal of the specific session that your speaker will host.

Choose your speaker with this in mind – and then ensure in advance that the speaker understands how he or she will fit into the event. This is why it’s vital to include them in the early planning stages.

A good speaker is one who is not only an expert in their chosen subject, but someone who can also deliver the content in a variety of ways in order to connect with their audience. A good speaker is largely an under-used resource whose full potential can be unlocked only by including them in the earlier planning stages.

Leonardo di Caprio in the Wolf of Wall Street

This prevents a situation arising after the meeting when your delegates are walking away scratching their heads and wondering what all that was about. It also prevents embarrassment for someone who may be a very good speaker, but who hasn’t been properly briefed about the event or their audience’s expectations.

The question of whether you can measure the ROI of an event – and in particular of a speaker – is often debated. Although you can’t do so in terms of financial revenue, you can certainly measure it using tools such as social media, apps or old-fashioned questionnaires to see what takeaways the delegates have gained.

When you work together with the speaker to ensure they understand the aims and expectations of the meeting, you will both be on the same page when it comes to what you consider successful, and feedback from the delegates should reflect this.

&Meetings can help you source the best venue for your meeting or event. To hire meeting rooms in London, phone us on 0800 073 0499 and we will ensure you receive value for money at an appropriate venue.

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