Imagine … you have an important event and you need to look for the right speaker. You are thinking of that special person, who can create powerful connections with the audience and who leaves a long-lasting impression. The person who makes your company and sponsor look good, and where participants will be genuinely thanking you for this opportunity. This is the speaker, who is able to make their participants leave the event with fresh ideas, increased motivation and at the same time having been entertained, informed and challenged.
You know that hiring a public speaker – the right speaker! – is crucial, it can break or make your event. But where should you start? Bear in mind that there are two different types of public speakers: those who work through a Speaking Bureau and those who you can hire directly. No matter who you choose, make sure you take your time and do your research thoroughly. These are 10 things that will help you in the process of hiring the right public speaker for your next event.
Hiring a Public Speaker: 10 Questions to ask yourself:
# 1 – Does the speaker have the “PASSION” factor?
PASSION about a certain subject matter is something that every speaker should have. The audience should be able to instantly see, hear and feel the enthusiasm that the speaker has for the topic presented. If there is no passion, it will be impossible to motivate and engage any audience.
# 2 – Does the speaker present the right topic to the right audience?
Make sure your speaker presents the right topic to the right audience. Often it is a solution that the speaker provides as an answer to a problem that the audience is facing. The speaker should therefore be a real expert in their chosen field, who has lots of experience and first-hand knowledge on how things work in real life (personal or professional life). The person should make an effort or be made aware in advance who the audience is. This approach will help the speaker to deliver a more effective, targeted and helpful speech. But also the uniqueness and customization of the content for each individual speech is of paramount importance. This approach will allow it, to meet program goals and not be just a routine speech, that has been already presented exactly the same way to lots of other people in the past.
When hiring a public speaker you need a person who has an action-focused strategy and knows exactly what the expected end result should be. In order to have maximum impact, the speaker should present an action plan for the audience to follow through, once the motivational effect starts to fade.
# 3 – What is the speaker’s personality and delivery style like?
Are you looking for a professional speaker or an expert in a certain field who can speak? No matter who you choose, make sure the speaker is able to grab the audience’s attention right from the beginning. How original and attention grabbing is the start of the speech? You could ask for examples as to how the speaker started several of his/her past speeches. It would surely give you an additional insight, whether you are focusing on the right person or not.
A great speaker also needs to be aware of what the goal of the speech is and deliver the speech using the appropriate style. Is it to educate, to inform, to entertain, to motivate or to initiate a change in peoples’ behaviour? The speaker should be able to turn the speech into a highly engaging conversation with the audience. Good speakers do this by asking thought-provoking questions and involving the audience as much as possible.
Be aware of speakers who try during their speeches to sell aggressively their products or additional services. If that is something you do not wish at any costs, you need to inform the speaker about it. Look instead for someone who is audience-centred and not focused on his own best interests.
# 4 – Does the person share personal experiences with the audience?
The power of storytelling is a further MUST. Make sure when hiring a public speaker the person has some impactful stories, personal episodes to share, which the audience can easily relate to and will remember for a long time. Not many speakers are able to make every attendee in the audience feel, as if they would just talk to them on a personal level. If you find a speaker who is able to connect on an emotional level with the audience, many unforgettable experiences for your attendees will be created. Remember, people love listening to personal stories, they are so much more memorable!
# 5 – Does the speaker have video demonstrations to show?
If a picture can tell thousand words, what do you think can a video do? Ask for video material that allows you to see how the speaker interacts with the audience. Focus on the way the speaker presents themselves regarding attire, grooming, attitude, content and charisma. This will allow you to get a better picture of the speaker’s poise, manners and language used.
# 6 – What references does the speaker have?
Never underestimate the power of references. Make sure you check the speaker’s references which should be verifiable. How many speaking engagements did the person have in the past? What were the topics and are there any impressive testimonials available? If you are looking for a particularly entertaining speaker, don’t hesitate to ask previous references, if clean and appropriate humour was used at all times. You surely don’t want to hire a speaker who includes racial, off-colour or other inappropriate jokes. Remember, this would be instantly a complete turn-off.
# 7 – What are the speaker’s fees?
A speaker’s fees can vary quite considerably, from zero to many thousands of Dollars for one single performance. Find out if the speaker’s fee is competitively priced on the market. Does your company’s budget match your speaker’s fee? If the speaker’s fee seems too high, see if there is anything else that you can offer in return that adds value. For example, an impressive testimonial, choice of date/time, a multiple performance contract, products, services, paid expenses for spouse travel ticket/meals, additional publicity, extra night accommodation etc. When hiring a public speaker, ask for the payment terms of the speaker’s contract. Usually a 50 % deposit is the norm in order to get a speaker’s commitment.
# 8 – How approachable is the speaker afterwards?
Hire someone who is approachable and prepared to engage more with the audience also after the event is over. For example, by offering a Q & A session, possible book signing or a planned reception attendance.
# 9 – Does the speaker provide any handouts?
Does your speaker provide some handouts or learning materials to give out to the audience after the event? Attendees would surely appreciate receiving the key points of the presentation/speech as a printout rather than having to take their own notes.
# 10 – What does a post-evaluation reveal?
Should you consider of hiring a particular speaker for further speaking engagements, make sure you conduct a post-event evaluation. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Was the speaker able to add value to the event?
- Did the speaker meet the organizer’s and the audience’s expectations?
- How well did all of them respond?
- Would they love to listen to this speaker again?
If you would like to find out how good your own public speaking skills are, seize the opportunity to challenge yourself and take this FREE quiz of 100 questions: http://careerheads.com/online-test-100-free-quiz-questions-on-presentation-skills/
What was your biggest takeaway today from these points of hiring a public speaker? Which criteria do you consider as the most important one when hiring a Public Speaker? I would appreciate it if you could leave a comment and let me know. If you know anyone who could benefit from this article, make sure you share it. You will be helping them out and me too! Thanks!
Author: Karin Schroeck-Singh
Karin Schroeck-Singh is a trilingual Career Optimizer at www.Careerheads.com. She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and gained 20 years of international work experience in various industries in Italy, the UK and India. Her passion lies in creating multilingual, high-quality content in career matters, giving highly engaging public speeches and helping job seekers to optimize their career by providing professional coaching. She is the author of several ebooks, among them “44 Tips for a successful Video Interview” (http://careerheads.com/product/ebook-44-tips-for-a-successful-video-interview/). She has written several career and business articles for international HR and Marketing companies. Her favourite motto is “Learn from anyone, anywhere, anytime!” Follow her on Twitter @CareerHeads.