BLOG – Obtaining the RIGHT Guest Speaker
Obtaining the RIGHT Guest Speaker for Your Event
It’s an incredibly easy mistake to let excitement get the better of you when selecting a guest speaker for an event. However what’s often overlooked is that it’s actually not all about getting “the biggest name” you can. Don’t let your brain be consumed with “celebrity” and instead focus on the things that really matter to the actual purpose of the event and those attending.
So, what do you need to remember?
- Identify event theme
It’s all well and good booking a guest speaker who can deliver a hilarious or incredibly moving speech, but the substance needs to match up. Their content must link with the theme of the event, otherwise to put it quite plainly- you’re wasting money and the valuable time of all parties involved.
Look for the perfect pairing. Sir David Attenborough would be very well suited to a wildlife charity fundraising event, Ricky Hatton would be flawless for a boxing event….but swap them round and it wouldn’t make sense.
- Audience Expectations
This can be a tricky one to manoeuvre. The budget holder knows what they want from a speaker, the event organiser therefore, is well aware of what’s required of the chosen speaker. However the hopes and expectations of the audience is something less definitive.
Being methodical is the key when identifying the requirements of your audience.
- Why are they attending the event?
- Do they want to learn, be motivated or entertained?
- How long do they have?
- What do they want to walk away with?
If these are all determined then you’re onto a winner.
- Audience Demographic
This leads on smoothly from audience expectations, though a damn sight easier to identify. Judging by the event theme or type, you’ll be able to establish the general nature of the population. A room filled with high-flying business professionals won’t connect with or appreciate a whacky, unconventional, free-spirit and vice versa.
The key here is not to get carried away with how much your money can get you or focussing solely on whether or not they have 110% record of five star reviews; so much so that you forget who they will actually be speaking TO.
For points 3 and 4, a very productive activity is to write down a list of all they key traits, characteristics, talents, specialities and knowledge you need. If you follow these requirements it’ll help ensure you obtain the most appropriate speaker for the event in question.
I don’t think this is anyone’s most favourable topic but it is absolutely crucial you get this firmly identified. It’s not only important to know your own budget but you also need to be very aware of what things actually cost and the kind of price range speakers go for – Be realistic! You’re not going to score Michael Mcintyre for a 100 quid!
Something to also consider is that if prices differ hugely between speakers this more than likely means the deliverables will be differ too. So make sure to clarify what you will actually be receiving for your money.
- RESEARCH, REASEARCH AND RESEARCH AGAIN
There’s nothing to be lost from doing a decent amount of digging, but everything to be gained! If you’re a person that usually likes to “wing it”….that’s not going to cut it in this situation. Sensible studying will also give self-assurance that the right person for the job is being achieved. So if ample research is carried out prior to making any concrete decisions; you’ll be all good!
“But what actual research needs to be done?” you ask. Well like the fairy godmother I am, I’ve listed the key aspects below:
- Reviews – both listed AND unlisted.
- How long the performer usually sticks around for.
- Do they allow for pictures, signings or interaction with the guests/audience?
- If they’ve attended an event of the same nature before.
- How flexible they are willing to be to suit your needs in terms of topic etc.
- What’s the normal/average length of their time talking?
- Would they need accommodation?
- Are you able to meet with them or talk to them beforehand?
- Are they willing to promote your event?
- Will they do THEIR research before the day?
- Finally – you need to watch them perform, whether that be live/in person or online.
It’s a process which needs meticulous thought and consideration. But if all the above is carried out properly your choice of guest speaker should go down a storm!!