When it comes to selecting a speaker, you’re going to come across a wide array, including some who work nationally and others who prefer to keep things more localized. If you want to hire a speaker, where should you start?
It’s tempting to start with a Google search for “public speakers in (insert your area).” And while that may generate a ton of results, it’s not likely to give you a good sense of what each speaker is really like. That’s because when you select a speaker, you are seeking an experience.
How do you find speakers who will create a fantastic experience for audience? The old fashioned way: asking around. Here are some ideas:
Service clubs like Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, or Exchange Clubs – Many of these groups have speakers on a weekly or monthly basis and most of them draw from the local community. Call them up and ask who has done job a great job in the past years.
Professional Societies – If you (or a friend, spouse, coworker, etc) is part of an association of professionals, they probably hire speakers too. Reach out and see who they have enjoyed working with.
Meeting Planners – People who plan meetings in Indianapolis need professional speakers. They are often happy to recommend experts to come to your event.
Audience members – Your contacts have seen great speakers! Ask them where they have been and who has had something to say worth hearing.
TV appearances – If someone appears on local television and presents themselves well, they are likely a good speaker for your upcoming events. Look them up!
And that’s when you use Google to find the speaker you want—by name!
Need more specifics on what you should be looking for when you hire someone? Gig Masters published a solid post on that very topic. We’ve included some of those best tips below.
Talk to the speaker before booking.
Celebrity speaker Todd Newton (New York, New York) says, “I always request to have a conference call with the people in charge of the event. It makes everyone more comfortable to have an opportunity to get to know each other beforehand…albeit over the phone. We want to be the best we can be for you and in order for that to happen we must be the right fit for your event. Just as you would do your homework before buying a new car, so should you do your homework before booking a speaker. Take your time. Taking the time to find a speaker that matches the environment can make all the difference!”
Ask questions to get a sense of the speakers experience and expertise.
Public Speaker Sharon Lacey (Portland, Oregon) suggests the following questions: How much experience does the public speaker have? Does the speaker have any video clips in their profile from past engagements? Does the speaker have references and positive feedback available from former clients? Is the speaker’s material suitable for the age-group/demographic of our audience? Can the speaker tailor their material to include points specifically pertaining to your group?
Discuss the event and expectations in detail.
“The client should ask what the speaker requires in regards to equipment, media, sound etc. Also, it is imperative that the speaker and the client have a mutual plan as to what will be covered in the speech or seminar, the length of the seminar or speech, and all topics to be discussed.”
While some of those may seem like no-brainers, it’s important to keep in mind that even the things that maybe could go unsaid should still probably be discussed and thought about. After all, hiring a speaker is a big deal, and just because someone is a quality speaker doesn’t mean that they’re right for your event. Cover all your bases and you’re much more likely to have a successful, positive experience.