Steps to Hiring a Motivational Speaker

motivational speakerHiring a motivational speaker can be an intimidating task. If it goes well, you look like a star, if it doesn't- it's painful.

One of the greatest challenges of being a motivational speaker is you often work in isolation. We run our business the best we can given the resources, time, travel, etc. An outside partner like a speaker bureau can offer much needed feedback to help us stay on top of our game.

Speakers Bureaus work with hundreds of speakers and know about topics, content, relevance, who is easy to work with (and not), and what requirements speakers have.

Speakers Bureaus can help you negotiate the contract and make all of your speaker selections integrated.

Most industries are highly regulated, motivational speakers are not. Almost anyone with a message or desire to speak can decide to become a motivational speaker.

Speakers Bureaus will work many hours helping you find the right motivational speaker. They only get paid when the speaker gets paid. Bureaus want to build a long term relationship with you so they have a vested interest in securing the right speaker for your event.

Year after year, working with the same Speakers Bureau, you can streamline your motivational  speaker discovery and hiring process.

Bureaus make a commission on a speakers fee,  a good bureau will help you find the right speaker for the right fee, regardless of the commission they receive. The industry has changed a lot, a great bureau will partner with the client and the speaker to find the best fit for your event.

Speakers bureaus will know certain speakers are reliable in specific industries.

Bureaus can help speakers be prepared and ready for the audience.

Speaker Bureaus have their own process for booking speakers- this streamlines the process and  ensures all deadlines are met.

It is overwhelming the abundance of speakers available, yet very few are exceptional speakers.

To make it even more difficult to decipher, some have years of experience and a pitiful online presence and some have very little speaking experience and a knock out website. It's easy to make the wrong choice.

Some motivational speakers make it sound like they are the best thing that could happen to you. Let's face it, it's only a speech. They are not curing world hunger, or ending war and poverty. It is a speech.

However, consider great speakers like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King or Eleanor Roosevelt and you recall motivational speeches have the power to change lives.

Find out When to Hire a Female Motivational Speaker

Inspiration is a fleeting thing. When people are stressed out and overworked, I am convinced what they need more than ever is to be inspired. If you set a convention off in the right tone with inspiration, humor and connection- it will alter the overall success of the event. A great motivational speaker can boost attendance and get you Rave Reviews.

To hire a Motivational Speaker, i suggest you take the following steps:

  • Decide on your budget. The investment for a speaker can be $2,000 all the way up to ( yikes) $100,000 ( ie- past president Bill Clinton). It is critical you set this figure up front, it will  make it so much easier for you to decide what your parameters are.
  • Decide on the type of speaker you want to hire, or what message you want delivered. Motivational speakers can be funny, inspirational, exceptional story tellers, or have cutting edge content. See my blog post, 3 Style of a Motivational Speaker
  • There are 3 ways to find a motivational speaker:
  1. Ask around and get input from others. Go to other state or national associations and see what guest speakers they have hired.
  2. Contact a speakers bureau. They take commission off the speakers fee of 25- 30%, if you have a limited budget it leaves you less room to negotiate.
  3. Ask Google. This is how many people find an inspirational speaker for an event. Do a search on Google (or whatever your search engine of choice) with the keywords motivational speaker or humorous speaker or a specific topic like social media speaker or inspirational generational speaker. You can also search for speakers who specialize in your industry, with a query like motivational speakers for health care professionals.
  • Collect four or five motivational speaker options that suite your theme, message and preferred style of performance. 
  • Contact speakers through their website or speakers bureau and confirm the date is available and the fee
  • Do in depth research. Browse their websites- read their blog, program descriptions, testimonials and client list. Watch their video. See our blog post Pitfalls of the Motivational Speaker Video.
  • Some things to look for...Is the speaker current? Have they been giving the exact same speech for the last 30 years? do they write? consult? have a blog? Does the speaker customize content to the audience? How much actual speaking experience do they have? If someone is famous that's great but it doesn't mean they are a great motivational speaker ( I have experienced several semi- famous survivors, idols, reality TV stars and political commentators bomb on the platform).
  • If you work on a committee, share the information with other key decision makers. Be careful not to slow down the deliberations with too much feedback and personal politics. Be prepared with research, facts and recommendations.
  • Negotiate. Savvy Speakers will have means to leverage the experience through selling books, a trade show booth, or personal referrals. Negotiate these items if you need a reduction in fee.
  • Get the most bang for your buck- Ask if the speaker will do a keynote and break out session at the conference, see if they will stay for the whole day to interact with delegates. Ask if they will contribute an article to your newsletter.
  • Sign a contract. Most motivational speakers have a contract of their own for you to sign. Make sure there is a clause and agreement if the speaker does not make it for the performance. It is rare but it can happen.

If you do the due diligence, hiring a motivational speaker will be a rewarding learning experience. Even better, they will be exceptional on the platform and make it your best event ever.

Check out these Etiquette Tips for a Guest Speaker. You may want to add these to your speaking contract.

Have you hired funny motivational speakers that was exceptional, or not?

Go here for more resources on hiring a motivational speaker.

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