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Ten tips to choose the right speaker

THE success or failure of a conference can hinge on choosing the right speakers.

The National Speakers Association of Australia has prepared this list to help people find the right speaker.

Determine the needs of the audience. Thorough knowledge of the group is essential to choose the right speaker. Is the speaker needed to motivate the group? Does the meeting require the audience to leave with specific information?

Establish the date, time and budget for the event. Many speakers book engagements up to a year in advance. Consider how much time the speaker needs to fill and where that time falls in the program.

Identify the type of speaker best matching the audience’s needs. A speaker’s expertise in a field may be a big drawcard but a well-known name does not guarantee a professional presentation.

Ask colleagues for recommendations. Speakers’ bureaus can locate and book speakers.

Interview the speaker candidates. Make sure the speaker has presented at similar events. Ask for a biography, testimonials and videos – preferably before a live audience.

Understand the speaker is not only being paid for the presenting time. The speaker should also be spending time researching, preparing and customising the presentation.

Get a letter of agreement that clearly outlines the expectations of both the organiser and the speaker. Consider travel arrangements, accommodation and meals, fees and payment terms, cancellation policies, an agreement regarding any audio or video taping.

Work with the speaker and share information about your group and company.

Set the stage and make sure the room is set up for optimum impact. Consider the number of chairs and how they are arranged. Consider the room’s temperature and lighting.

Evaluate the results. Have the audience complete evaluations on the speaker’s presentation to gauge the results for future presentations. Send a copy to the speaker.

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