How to choose the best speaker for your event
By Dan Rose, MD of Event Insurance Services
Choosing the right speakers for your event can either make or break it, and ultimately impact your reputation in some way. It is important that you identify your speakers early in the planning process, so that not only will they have enough time to prepare for your event, but you’ll have time to fully get organised and deal with any issues before hand. Picking the right speaker isn’t as simple as picking a famous name, there is a strategy and a focus to making sure than you get the right person to achieve the aims of your event.
Before you start your search for your event speakers you should be able to tick off his checklist in order to be prepared:
- Determine your event’s schedule
- Understand your audience
- Outline the event’s objective
- Define expectations for your speakers
- Benchmark success
Only once you have identified the above points, should you start your speaker search. Your event speakers can play many different roles at your event and so by completing this checklist, you will gain deeper understanding as to what type of speaker your audience will respond better to.
Establish the purpose of your event so you can find a speaker that will convey the right message.
- You should focus on what you want to achieve from your event. Whether this is to improve your brand awareness, to educate your audience on something specific or to generate more leads for your business, your speakers should be aware so that they can adjust their message.
- You must consider the overall message that you are trying to convey. What thoughts and ideas do you want your attendees to leave your event with? All of these are things to take into consideration when choosing the right speaker for your event.
What type of speaker will your audience respond better to?
- Think about the type of event you are holding and this will help establish what type of speaker is most appropriate. This could be a motivational speaker, a celebrity or a professional in a certain field.
- Will your audience be more likely to respond to a well-known speaker or would a lesser known speaker deliver the same results? Ultimately, your audience will respond better to a speaker who satisfies their needs.
Encourage your speaker to engage in Q&A
- Often the most valuable part of any event or conference is the chance for your attendees to ask any questions they may have. This is possibly the only time that your attendees will receive tailored content that is specific to them and is most likely to fulfil their objectives from attending the event.
Before you choose a speaker:
- You should always try to see the speaker in action before you choose them to speak at your event. This way you can experience their speaking style and understand how they engage and connect with their audience to see whether they are likely to be appropriate with your event.
Consider the speaker’s level of knowledge
- Will your speaker have specialist understanding of your desired subject that your audience won’t find elsewhere? Always ask your chosen speakers what exactly they are going to discuss at your event so you know that their content is likely to educate your audience in some way.
- As a customer, you need to be clear on what you want to achieve. Set out all of your requirements and be clear about what you are looking for from them.
- Lay out your aims clearly and up front so all your needs are met and you don’t have to settle for someone who is not the right fit for your event.
A good event speaker needs to be able to educate and engage with your audience as well as being able to inspire your audience and drive positive change. Your speakers should provide fresh insight on relevant topics, provide actions and motivational takeaways for your audience.
If you follow this process, you should consistently choose the perfect speakers for your audience and your reputation will benefit as a result.
However, there is sometimes the occurrence where you are likely to come across a controversial speaker for your event and you may have to discuss with them some guidelines beforehand so they do not offend any of your attendees.
Managing Controversial Speakers
- Give your speakers a set of guidelines so they know who their audience is and what their talk should cover. This should result in any controversial speaker not pushing the boundaries with their discussion.
- Make your attendees aware prior to your event what speakers you are hosting and provide some information on them so your audience can do their research beforehand.
There is a lot that goes into planning and choosing the right speakers for your event, even managing controversial ones can be difficult. Ultimately, you need to take into account how your speakers are going to affect you and your business’s reputation, so you need to have a strong reputation management strategy in place. Planning your strategy is all about taking the right steps to prevent negative press and online reviews, rather than hiding them.