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How To Book The Right Speaker, Every Time?

Use this 3-point bulletproof check list to book the right speaker, every time!

I understand the challenge of finding the right speaker. We have all seen media clip bloopers, or been a part of an audience where the speaker just isn’t able to articulate their message.

The audiences’ eyes are glazing over and heads begin nodding off to sleep. Texting, scanning emails and playing games on mobile devices are popular past times when the speaker cannot connect.

Not only does the speaker notice the lack of audience engagement, you notice it. And here’s the kicker…you were the one in charge of booking the right speaker!

Let’s be honest, every speaker is on their best behavior during a speaker evaluation. Just about every speaker is going to communicate they are the right fit and ready to impact your audience.

While confidence is good to hear, you need to make sure you are hitting a home run and not a bunt with your speaker selection.

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A 3-point bulletproof check list to safeguard your speaker selection. Follow closely.

1. CLIENT LIST

First things first: check the speaker’s client list. Yes, even before watching any video of the speaker. This is HUGE, which is why it’s check point number one.

The speaking industry is very competitive. Almost as competitive as professional sports (maybe even more in some regards). You have a free and valuable tool staring you in the face when looking at a speaker’s client list.

To whom have they spoken? That is the question that should be at the front of your brain.

By taking a deep dive into a speaker’s client list, you will see quickly the caliber of speaker you are working with on the other end. The client list gives you the ability to lean-in on another company’s vetting system of the same speaker you are evaluating. Please take advantage of that.

For example, a speaker’s client list that features clients such as: JPMorgan Chase, IBM, Chick-fil-A, Zillow or The Home Depot carry a TON more weight than a client list that only features the Rotary Club, Toastmasters, Chamber of Commerce or a local festival.

Obviously, there is a GIANT gap in the example I just listed, but here is my point:

The bigger named clients the speaker has served…the more vetted, polished and experienced speaker you have in your hands.

Please spend ample time on the client list. It’s a tell-tale on the speaker.

2. TESTIMONAILS

Don’t worry, we are getting to the speaker video, but second on this bulletproof line of defense is a speaker’s testimonials page. Also known as endorsements or kind words.

You have just reviewed the speaker’s client list, now it’s time to see what leaders are saying about the speaker’s message, stage presence and interaction with their audience.

A couple areas to review in detail:

  • Does the speaker have two or 20? Two testimonials = not so good. 20 testimonials = this speaker is out in the world speaking like a champ!
  • Who are the testimonials from? If the speaker has testimonials from CEOs, Presidents, VPs, SVPs and/or Owners then you know the top brass were sitting in the audience and consuming the speaker’s content. More importantly, these top people in an organization were compelled and gave permission to lend their name, title and thoughts to the speaker. This is the gold mine you are looking for in the speaker evaluation process.

Testimonials are a no-brainer to review when vetting a speaker. Big names + big speaking engagements = a highly polished speaker. When you follow this formula, the math always adds up!

3. VIDEO

Now it’s time to watch video of the speaker. You knew it was coming, but the real reason why a speaker’s video falls to number three can be summed up in one word.

Bias.

You have biases. I have biases. We all have biases. And that’s okay to have a bias, but here’s why a speaker’s video needs to come last to protect against bias.

For example, lets say you are an introvert and I am an extrovert (which I am). If the first thing you do in the evaluation process is turn on my speaker video, you are going to notice quickly that I am loud and animated when I speak. That is my personality coming through and the way I deliver a clear message. Me being loud and animated is neither good or bad.

Most introverts don’t like the loud and animated speaker. Most extroverts don’t understand the quiet and poised speaker. Again, there is nothing wrong with this at all. We all have our preferences which is fine, great and dandy.

The problem we run into (especially when in charge of booking the right speaker) is we can let our biases shade, block or even eliminate what is potentially right for your audience.

This is a slippery slop, and yes, you must watch the speaker’s video during the evaluation process. But please, I beg you, make sure the video falls in the correct order: Client List, Testimonials and then Video.

I can’t stress this enough…by following this order, you are voluntarily keeping your bias in check. And isn’t that truly what you want when booking the right speaker? The right speaker!

A couple areas to review in detail:

  • Does the speaker speak clearly on stage. You want to look (see) if the speaker is clearly articulating their message and not mumble-jumble.
  • Does the speaker work the stage or stand motionless behind a podium? You want someone who can work a stage in 2017. Remember, audiences get distracted easily. Stage presence = commands presence.
  • Does the speaker include video testimonials from audience members in the speaker reel? It is critical to plug-in to what others have said about the speaker you are evaluating. There is no better way to do that then listening and watching a video testimonial.
  • Does the speaker have any other videos besides their speaker reel? Watch videos of the speaker in other settings besides the stage. I.e interviews, tv spots, commercial appearances, etc.

BONUS

Ask the speaker you are evaluating to see an example on how they will prepare for your event. The speaker should have a worksheet, questionnaire, or something tangible to show how they are going to customize their message for your audience.

Disclaimer Question and Answer:

Q: Can you find the right speaker that doesn’t have strong: Client List, Testimonials and Video?

A: The honest answer is maybe. Maybe you can, but most likely you won’t. When you don’t properly vet a speaker you are taking a massive unnecessary risk. Please take full advantage of this new knowledge for your speaker evaluation process.

If you follow this 3-point bulletproof check list and take a deep dive into a speaker’s Client List, Testimonials and then Video, you will save yourself a ton of time and headache.

Have a wonderful next event and go get the right speaker!

You audience will thank you and your boss will thank you, every time!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Posted on: March 21st, 2017

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