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Speakers can make the event

A mediocre speaker can make for a mediocre conference, says National Speakers Association of Australia professional development coordinator Alan Wilson.

“The whole event can hinge on the speaker. If it is the typical keynote speaker and the whole event revolves around him or her, then the speaker is crucial,” Mr Wilson said.

“If the speaker doesn’t like the subject he or she is talking about, the audience will soon know it.

“A good speaker can make a conference memorable. Unfortunately, so can a bad one.”

More events organisers are turning to professional speakers to add polish to their event.

However, the price for a professional speaker may come as a shock to an events organiser.

Mr Wilson said an NSAA accredited professional speaker could range from $500 to $6,000 per speech.

However, celebrities such as Kieren Perkins and Wally Lewis can command much higher fees.

“The audiences of today want interaction. They don’t want to be just talked at,” Mr Wilson said.

“These days they expect more than just someone stringing together some really good quotes and making them feel good.”

Mr Wilson said a professional speaker would find out the needs of the audience long before the event.

“They should know how to work with audio visual equipment and also how to work within a budget,” he said.

“If the budget doesn’t stretch to allow audio visual equipment, they should be able to put their presentation together without it.”

Mr Wilson said there were two types of speakers – the celebrities and the content rich professional speakers.

He said there had been a speaking industry in Australia for about 10 years and it was growing.

“We’re now educating the industry about the importance of professional speakers,” Mr Wilson said.

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