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Hiring a Speaker the Right Way: The Purpose of the Speech

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Sometimes, clichés are painful because they are true. Consider: “Begin with the end in mind.” This is one of the most important elements of hiring a speaker, but one that is often overlooked.

In our multi-part series on Hiring a Speaker The Right Way we’ve covered many aspects of speaker planning, but not yet talked about speaker purpose. That’s on purpose: determining why you want a live presentation is often something it takes a while to determine.

Hiring a Speaker: Finding the Purpose

© Flickr user Matt Erasmus

There are only four reasons you should hire a speaker for your organization.


Every manager knows that a key indicator of productivity is employee motivation. When your team is excited about the work they are doing, they are likely to work harder and work smarter. On the contrary, when they are feeling depressed and demotivated, employees are likely to make mistakes and generally produce lower quality work.

Inspiration is also closely tied to creativity, which will lead to productivity growth. When employees feel a sense of opportunity and freedom, they are more likely to take risks. Individuals feel like they take risks and succeed. Sometimes, you need to hire a speaker to rally the team and help everyone feel inspired.


An outside speaker is a great way to teach your team a new skill or provide a new perspective. A great presenter can be much more effective than online learning, textbook material, or self-study alone. (Although, a good teacher will leverage multiple mediums to help people understand.)

Even if you already have experts inside your company, a third-party presenter can make a big difference. Not only will they be an expert at speaking to groups, but they are also a fresh face. Audiences enjoy hearing from someone new rather than the person they have heard from many times before.

Speaker Presentation

© Flickr user Texas State Library and Archives Commission


Sometimes, audiences just need to laugh. They need to smile, they need to be impressed, or be moved to tears. In a business context, entertainment is a great way to wrap up a day or provide a break between serious work. An entertaining presenter may tell humorous stories to make a point or merely tell jokes. They might show off some magic tricks or do some other kind of artistic performance.

In some regards, though, every presenter is in part, an entertainer. No matter what you are you saying on stage, you must keep your audience engaged. Being interesting is an essential quality for any speaker.


The final reason you might hire a speaker is to have an important or difficult conversation. It can be hard to determine company strategy, resolve disputes, determine best practices, or figure out how to work together. A good speaker can act as a facilitator, enabling different people to interact in a productive way.

It’s easy to discount the role of a speaker as a facilitator. After all, why do you need an outside expert to help talk about matters internal to your organization? The answer is that if you didn’t, you probably would have solved the problem already. Hiring an outside facilitator can make a huge difference in helping your team to move forward.

A Little of Everything

I pointed out that every presenter should also be an entertainer. But in truth they should also be a educator, a motivator, and a facilitator too. Whoever you’re hiring as a speaker, share your goals with them. Let them know what you need most for your audience, so they can craft a presentation that makes the most sense and has the greatest impact.

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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.
@lorraineball First probably depends on the business. But second is likely training, especially with regard to sales. - 12 hours ago
Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter

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