Getting the right speaker is the key to a successful event. They have the power to drive home the theme of your event and leave your attendees inspired and motivated.

Event planners know this and they’re willing to pay top dollar for great conference speakers. That’s a big reason why the speaking industry is worth $1.9 billion a year.

How can you make sure you get the right speakers for your next work event?

Read on to find out.

1. Understand Your Event and Your Audience

The best speakers for your event will be aligned with the goals of the event and with your audience. You want to make sure that you have the event goals defined first.

For example, you’re looking for ways to improve employee motivation in the workplace. You can read about employee motivation and find a speaker that can support those tips.

That will allow you to describe with more detail as to what you’re looking for in a speaker. If you put out a call for speakers saying that you want an inspirational speaker, you’re going to waste time looking through proposals that aren’t a good fit.

You also need to know the type of speaker that you need. Some are great at roundtable discussions, while others are better keynote speakers.

Do you need a speaker who will kick-off the event? That will require another type of personality and content.

There are some speakers that have a reputation for dropping curse words and being very direct. While they may be on-topic, but your audience may not respond to that style of speaking.

2. Know Your Budget

Very few conference speakers will speak for free. You don’t want to insult them by assuming that they will speak for free or a reduced rate.

You want to make sure that you have a budget outlined to pay for the speaker’s fees and travel expenses.

How much should you set aside for speaker’s fees? It depends on a few factors, like the popularity of a speaker and their experience.

Speakers set their fees according to those two criteria. For a big name, you can expect to pay at least $20,000 to have them appear.

After you set your budget, you want to make sure you’re able to get a return on that investment. How can you measure ROI for a speaker that is talking about motivation?

You can measure things like employee engagement before and after the event. You can also have employees fill out a survey right after the talk to find out if the speaker moved the motivational needle at all.

3. Where to Find Event Speakers

If you were to throw a stone into a crowded room, there’s a good chance that you’d hit a speaker. At least, it seems that way.

It does seem like everyone is a professional speaker, so you have to do a bit of extra homework to make sure you attract top talent.

Look at trusted speakers bureaus and associations. The National Speakers Association is a great place to start to find speakers.

You want to ask yourself a few questions as you’re looking at them. What is their primary purpose?

Do they need to motivate your team? Do they need to bring in an audience? You want to have answers to these questions and keep them in mind as you’re looking for a speaker.

Read More: Tips for Choosing the Right Venue for Your Event

4. Look at Speaker’s Reels

Most professional speakers have speaker’s reels that you can look at. There’s a good chance that you can find their events on YouTube. This allows you to get a feel for their speaking style and ascertain if they’re a good fit for your event and audience.

You can also do further research on their websites and social media channels. Ideally, you want to hire a speaker that is a great storyteller. Working with someone that rattles off statistics won’t make a lasting impact.

5. The First Interactions Tell the Story

If you reach out to a potential speaker, you want to gauge how they respond to your and your requests. If they have a huge contract rider with a lengthy list of ridiculous demands, then they may not be a good fit for your event.

You may have to let go of some very big names because they’re more trouble than they’re worth.

The best conference speakers are humble and approachable. You want your audience to feel that approachability and connect with the speaker.

Some speakers are willing to hang around and talk with participants one-on-one. That’s the type of speaker that will leave a lasting impression on your audience.

6. Ask for References

You want to make sure that you hire a speaker that is easy to work with and reliable. The best way to do that is to speak with people who worked with them in the past.

You may find that the speaker is a great fit, but they aren’t that reliable, or they’ll make your event a small priority.

7. Room for Negotiation

When you settle on a speaker, you’re going to have to negotiate the contract. You want to be prepared to be flexible, and your speaker should be flexible as well.

You may be able to negotiate a reduction in fees and allow the speaker to sell books and CDs in the back of the room.

When both sides are flexible, you have the best chance to hire a great conference speaker.

Finding Conference Speakers for Your Next Event

If you’re putting on a conference, you want to put on the best event possible that attendees will rave about for a long time.

One of the keys to a memorable event is to have a great conference speaker. You don’t need to hire celebrity conference speakers to make it memorable. You want someone that the audience can connect with and relate to.

You also want someone who speaks about topics that are aligned with the goals of your event and your audience. Ready for more helpful tips? Head over to the home page of this site for more event news.

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