A guest speaker represents an essential addition to a major event, with the best being able to tailor their performances and their subjects to specific occasions, while also working with and responding to an audience. However, when choosing a guest speaker, there are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration, from general budgeting issues through to the level of experience that the speaker is able to display.
In addition, a good guest speaker should be flexible, and should be able to negotiate with you over technical requirements and transport issues. Moreover, you need to be able to find a suitable marketing budget for your speaker, and need to be able to respond to any problems before and during an event.
1 - Budgeting
When hiring a guest speaker, make sure that you have a maximum budget in place. While you may find that a more prestigious speaker becomes available, you may also have to break your budget to get them. This might not always be worth the extra cost, so think practically about what your minimum requirements are for an event.
2 - Specialist Speakers and Experience
You want to hire a guest speaker that can speak confidently on their specialist subject, and that can raise the prestige of an event by doing so. However, you may also find it worth considering a speaker that can provide expertise across a range of different subject areas, or that are able to provide their take on your conference theme.
You may also find that an experienced speaker is able to suggest ideas, and to work with you to develop the best possible speech for an audience. In the same way, you need to decide between a speaker that will provide a keynote address, or one that will be able to lighten an atmosphere with anecdotes and jokes.
3 - Flexibility and Audience Understanding
The best speakers are ultimately ones that are flexible, and will be able to work with you to make any changes that are necessary. Most of these changes can be handled through a speaker bureau or agency in advance, and should be completed with as much as time possible to avoid arguments and tensions with a speaker. It is also worth checking to see whether the speaker will have any material that might cause offense to an audience, and will need to be altered slightly before a performance.
4 - Practicality and Technical Issues
A poorly set up technical display and microphones can result in serious problems on the day of an event, so make sure that you run through everything with plenty of time to spare. You may also want to test out projectors and video clips, as well as the positioning of a podium. It is also worth having someone who knows the IT setup of a venue on hand during the day to solve any problems, which may cost extra, but will remove headaches. In terms of organising a format, you want to make sure that a speaker and an audience knows whether there will a formal Q&A at the end of a speech. Some speakers may not want to do this, so make sure that an agreement is made up before marketing.
5 - Marketing
A marketing budget will have to be considered alongside more general budget issues. You may find that a budget will only extend to internal promotions, which might particularly be the case if the event is in-house. Social media marketing through Facebook and Twitter can also save money, as can mass emails.
About the Author
Lisa Gan is a motivational speaker for Speakers Corner - a world leading speaker bureau with over 30 years of industry experience in motivational speech delivery.