If you’re running a company conference or corporate retreat again after putting off such an event during the height of the global pandemic, or if you’re planning to run a big event for your customers, a crucial part of making the occasion a success is getting the right speakers.
This takes a combination of factors to make happen, so read on for some tips to help you.
Think About Event Goals
The first thing you should do is think about what you want to achieve from your event. Knowing your specific goals for the occasion will help clarify what you need a speaker to provide. For example, there’s no point in hiring someone who’s fantastic at providing all the latest information and statistics on a topic if the central theme of the event is motivation and inspiration – if it is, you’ll be looking for people with remarkable stories of resilience or creative ways to succeed, and so on.
You might also want various speaker types to tick multiple boxes, so it all comes down to your needs and what you hope event attendees take away from the sessions. Getting clear on what you need in a speaker will help you save time and effort as you won’t bother making inquiries with those who won’t be a good fit for the particular occasion you’re planning.
Set a Budget
You also need to set a budget for hiring one or more speakers. Having a monetary figure in mind that you can afford to spend on this event element will help you avoid wasting time considering speakers who are way outside your budget. Come up with a total figure you feel comfortable outlaying on speakers, and then work backward from there. You’ll need to divide your budget accordingly if you want multiple speakers.
Don’t forget to factor in general speaking fees and potential additional costs such as feeding speakers, paying for their travel and accommodation expenses, arranging any special items they need, and perhaps buying some of their books to give to your staff.
When choosing high-profile speakers, you sometimes have to pay for security guarding services at your event if those you hire are worried about being mobbed or just general safety issues. Some people will have their own security on staff, but others will ask you to sort out this element before they attend your event.
Consider Your Audience
Something else to do ASAP is to consider your audience. Who will be attending the event, what are they likely to be interested in hearing, and what do you want them to learn, if you’re planning a corporate retreat or conference, etc.? Different topics and speaking styles will suit different target markets, so you must understand your audience to pick the right people to present.
You may also need speakers who specialize in talking about a niche subject or who generally offer something different that your audience wouldn’t have heard before. To impress your attendees, you may be keen, too, to lock in someone who’s seen as at the top of their game in your industry. Landing them can be a big win for your event and your audience. You want to invest your budget wisely in the names that will get people excited, generate buzz, and help you market the event further if it’s something you’re selling tickets to.
Obtain Speaker Information
Once you have the above factors sorted out, research potential speakers. You may already have some ideas in mind of people to reach out to, but you might also want to look online or chat with other business owners or contacts for suggestions on who to approach. It’s often worth asking your employees or customers if they have people they’d love to hear from, too.
Create a shortlist of potential speakers and obtain information about their available dates, costs, special requests, and the specific subjects they can talk on or the types of presentations they can give. For instance, some people are only comfortable conducting workshops for small groups, while others prefer providing talks to large groups.
Some offer interactive options, including Q&A and activities for the audience to do or get involved in, some are flexible to cater to topics you’d prefer spoken about, and others have a set talk that can’t be altered. Also, busy, popular, high-profile speakers generally pick and choose which events they attend, so you may want to think about ways to “sweeten the deal” to attract them to yours. For instance, you could talk about the beautiful hotel or setting where the event’s being held or tell them they can sell or mention their products or services.
Before you finalize agreements with speakers, read or listen to testimonials and reviews about their presentations. You might ask people at other companies you know hired them about how they found the person to deal with and if they lived up to expectations. Also, where possible, go and watch speaker candidates in action.
Hiring the right speaker(s) at your next event can make or break the occasion, so take this task seriously and don’t rush the process.