When I am a guest motivational speaker at an event, I know the difference between a good speech and a great one is the customizing I do in advance. I like to interview members of the target audience ahead of time to get some relevant ideas, buzz words and sources of stress I can weave into my speech.
From the meeting planner, I get permission to speak with at least 3-5 members of the audience. I aim for a variety that will represent different demographics of the group.
Here are the questions I ask the meeting planner:
What is your event theme? Why did you chose this theme?
What is your goal for my speech? What would make it really unique? Motivational?
What are the strengths of your conference attendees?
What do they most need to improve on?
How many people will attend?
What is the demographic (age and gender) break down?
Who are some people I need to know (longstanding president, new executive director)? Who can I poke fun at (good natured guy, life of the party, loves to be ribbed)? Who should I stay away from (the guy who needs therapy and a one hour speech won't cut it)?
Name 2 role models that people in the audience look up to? Why?
What did you like/dislike about previous guest motivational speakers?
What is the dress code? What do guest speakers typically wear?
Will spouses be attending?
Typical Audience: Educational Background? Income Range...
Survey audience members:
Next I get a feel for the sources of stress, types of customers, competition, industry issues attendees deal with by asking these questions:
What challenges are you facing in your industry right now?
What are your industry buzz words?
If in sales, what is your typical sales process?
What is an audience member's typical day like? What are your major responsibilities?
What separates a high performer from others?
What are the "joys" of the job?
With this information I go through my major points and look for ways I can saturate the content with relevant industry examples.
Meeting Planners, Find out How to Hire a Motivational Speaker