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Hiring a Speaker the Right Way: Before and After

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One of the most important elements of hiring a speaker for your business or organization is not what happens on stage. It’s what happens immediately before and immediately after the presentation.

As part of our ongoing blog series about hiring a speaker the right way, we’re moving onto designing the event. Because no matter what kind of presentation you’ve requested, that program fits inside of a larger experience that you are creating for your audience.

Hiring a Speaker: Before and After

© Flickr user Christopher Hsia

A good way to think about this problem is by starting not from the 50,000 foot view, but by asking the question: what happens ten seconds before the speaker begins talking? There’s actually one correct answer to this question. The last thing that should happen before the presenter opens their mouth is a round of applause.

When you break down the event in this level of detail, you might start to get a list which has some of the following items, probably in this order:

  • Venue setup completed
  • Speaker arrives on site
  • Sound and video checks
  • Doors open
  • Audience begins seating
  • Two minute warning for audience
  • Opening (lights, sounds, curtains, etc)
  • Emcee takes the stage
  • Emcee thanks audience, introduces the event
  • Emcee introduces the speaker, invites applause
  • Audience applauses
  • Speaker gives presentation
  • Audience applauses
  • Emcee thanks speaker, closes event
  • Audience applauses
  • Audience begins departing
  • Speaker goes to book signing table
  • Audience members get books autographed
  • Venue emptied
  • Venue teardown
  • Speaker departs

This might seem like a ton of detail, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to ensure that your event is a success. Even if you’re only going to have a few dozen people in attendance, putting together a schedule with timeframes can help give the event organizers more comfort. Furthermore, planning the before-and-after raises crucial questions like whether or not the presenter will be accessible to the audience, whether not you’ll have a Q&A period, whether the speaker’s books will be available, and so on.

If you’re hiring an experienced speaker, they will have been through these details before. You can work with them directly or with their assistant to determine how to give your audience the best experience. In fact, that’s one hallmark of a great presenter–they immediately begin asking about the rest of the program so you can collaborate on creating an event worth attending.

Come back for the next event in the series when we discuss the purpose of hiring a speaker. See you then!

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Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter is a workflow and productivity expert. He is a nationally known speaker on topics related to personal productivity, corporate efficiency and employee engagement. Robby is the founder of AccelaWork, a company which provides speakers and consultants to a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, regional non-profits, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Robby has written numerous articles for national magazines and has over one hundred published pieces. He is also the author of several books, including Failure: The Secret to Success. He has also been interviewed by international news outlets including the Wall Street Journal. Robby’s newest book is The Battle For Your Email Inbox.
Robby Slaughter


Troublemaker and productivity/workflow expert. Slightly more complex than 140 characters will permit.
@LaceyEverett @thenerdherd @naptownbri @indystar Well, when the original source doesn’t answer the questions, people start to speculate. - 3 weeks ago
Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter

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