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5 Critical Things to Know Before You Book a Professional Speaker

Posted by WWSG Staff on Mar 26, 2015 2:05:00 PM


A professional speaker is often a key component for making each conference or event both successful and impactful.  Yet finding the right professional speaker can prove to be challenging, especially if you are trying to book one for the first time.  We understand this challenge well, which is why we want to share 5 tips you should know before booking your first speaker:

 1)  Know Which Type of Speaker You Want

There are many types of professional speakers available for events, from keynote and motivational speakers to thought leaders and beyond. In order to book the ideal professional speaker you’ll need to understand nuances between speakers, which can dramatically impact how well that speaker resonates with your audience. From the topic and key messages you’d like to see delivered, to the style and tone of the delivery, e.g. a more humorous or witty versus serious speaker, not every speaker has the same style and can create the impact you are seeking.  Ask yourself “What are some of the objectives that you want to achieve by booking a professional speaker?” It is always best to establish a clear vision of what you hope to achieve through your event before you start to look for a speaker.

2) Understand How Speaker Budgets Work

You should know your budget before you begin to search for a professional speaker. A speaker is an investment and you should select and book a speaker knowing that they will be the best fit for your organization, audience and venue – as well be the best for delivering key message points. Some of the most in-demand speakers that are trending the most are not always the most expensive, so there are plenty of ways an established bureau can assist you with finding the right speaker that best fits your budget and objectives.  If it’s an annual fundraising event, sometimes there are times you may want to “go big to win big” year-round.  Knowing tips for garnering the greatest returns from your speaker investment is vitally important for any organization.

3)  Begin Looking ASAP

As soon as you have established the date and venue for your event, you should start looking for your speaker. While you can book a professional speaker as short as 1-2 months ahead of time, beginning your speaker search at least 6 months ahead of your event will greatly expand your speaker options. One never wants to lose-out on the perfect speaker due to not planning enough in advance. Booking a speaker ahead of time also means you have will have more time to promote and prepare for your event. This is a long process that takes time and effort; but having ample time will allow you to more easily promote your event while generating more buzz.

4) Get Referrals and Recommendations

When you first begin to look for a professional speaker, it’s always a good rule of thumb to ask your colleagues for recommendations, or approach people that have had the task of booking speakers in the past. Soliciting personal recommendations from colleagues you trust can give you a great place to being your search. Then, once you find a professional speaker you are interested in booking, vet them by asking for referrals, testimonials or a list of clients where they have spoken in the past. You want to make sure you are hiring a proven, successful and in-demand speaker who can meet all of the expectations for your event.

5) First Speak with Your Bureau or Speaker

Most bureaus work all-the-time with in-demand speakers and should be able to answer any upfront questions you may have, regarding that speaker. A good bureau will also make sure that there is at least one planning call, several weeks before the event, where the speaker and/or their agent is on the call.  It’s a great time to go over details for your event, such as the venue, audience size and profile, demographics, and any additional information you may feel is relevant. Honest and open communications between you, the bureau, and a speaker is a great way to level-set expectations and to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.  Also feel free to ask the bureau for a demo video and background information for the speaker.

A great keynote speaker can often elevate an event and help to make it more successful. For more useful tips on booking a speaker, or to see who is trending today, visit here. If you are ready to get started on selecting a speaker for your next event, contact us today.

Topics: WWSG's Top Speakers

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