Avoid the Duds: 10 Strategies for Selecting "The Perfect Speaker"By: Susan Friedmann
Today, more than ever, the success of meetings relies heavily on the strength of program content and presentation. Nothing can spoil a meeting more than hiring the wrong speaker. That’s because speakers do more than just convey the overall meeting message. You look to them to provide insights, awareness, and cutting-edge information in an energetic, motivational, entertaining, and professional manner. What more could you ask for? Well, the right speaker can emphasize an important message, offer inspiration, help people cope with new assignments, and lead the way towards change.
Selecting the right speaker for your event is one of the most important, yet daunting elements for creating a successful meeting. Your speaker can often make or break the event. If he bombs, your reputation not only takes a severe nose-dive, but you also have the pleasure of dealing with the barrage of complaints from a disappointed audience. Yet, if he does well, you can walk away with many of the accolades, compliments, and of course, the rave reviews. By now, you probably realize that this massive responsibility is not to be taken lightly.
Raise Your Expectations
The skill to selecting a great speaker is determining what combination of education, motivation, and entertainment best fits your function. Then set out to find a perfect match. But keep your expectations high, since nothing can spoil a meeting faster than booking the wrong speaker. The following 10 guidelines should help you keep your focus and also keep you away from the “duds.”
The true objective of hiring a professional speaker hinges on establishing a partnership where a mutually beneficial relationship grows and flourishes. When this happens, you know you’ve chosen well.
The Perfect Match
Overwhelmed with the plethora of speakers to choose from? You may want to turn to a speaker’s bureau for advice and guidance. A good bureau should act as a consultant and partner to help your event succeed. Even though many hundreds of bureaus are out there, the numbers pale in comparison to the thousands of speakers. A bureau’s sole purpose is simply to make your job easier and provide you with solutions. They want to find the best possible match for your event within your price range. So, where do go looking for one of these bureaus? Here are a few places to start your search: the phone book, chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus, the Internet, industry colleagues, and friends.
A Final Note:
Look for CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) or CPAE (Council of Peers Award for Excellence) designations. Both these are conferred by the National Speakers Association and are considered the speaking profession's international measure of professional platform skill (www.nsaspeaker.org).
© copyright 2004, Susan A. Friedmann
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