After you have decided on your next speaker, here are some ideas to consider and do:
- Use your speaker more than once. Once you have picked your speaker, ask yourself if there is more than one slot to plug the speaker into. Most speakers have multiple presentations to offer and would rather work for you doing multiple programs instead of traveling to do another program half way across the country. The savings to you can be significant. The second presentation will probably be discounted, you eliminate another airfare, room and travel expenses you would have paid to hire another speaker; all of which can save you hundreds of dollars.
- Provide information. Send as much information about your organization to the bureau and speaker as possible. The more they know about you, your people, your goals, your accomplishments, and the challenges you face, the greater they will do for you. I know of one speaker who was asked to address the North American Barristers Association several years ago at their national convention. He thought that it would be a presentation to a group of lawyers and arrived to discover it was a sperm bank association for Barrister bulls. Had this client booked the date with our bureau, this situation would not have occurred. The Pre-Program Questionnaire we use enables us to get full background information on you and your audience.
- Have the speaker talk to your people. If the speaker asks to talk to your employees or customers, let them. It will only add to their background knowledge and might uncover some sensitivities that you were not aware of. Unique findings are discussed with you beforehand – of course.
- Properly prepare the room. Make sure you set up the room to best suit your needs as well as the speakers. Speakers do their best when they are at their best. Unfortunately, many planners restrict their speaker to the lectern which many times is set on the riser in the center of the head table and the microphone is fixed. This makes many speakers feel like a “tiger in a cage,” become frustrated, and do an average job. The list of common mistakes is very long! Call us for other tips.
- Utilize speaker articles. Check to see if the speaker has material that you can publish before the meeting. This promotion often produces stronger attendance numbers, sparks more interest, and may even stimulate better press coverage at your meeting. Most conference or convention attendees subconsciously note the presence of press as a sign of their importance and a job well done by the planners to get them there. Your peers usually have no idea how much time it takes to plan your meeting. Why not subtly shine the light on yourself for a change?!
- Say thank you. If the speaker and bureau do a good job and go the extra mile for you, make sure you let them know. I don’t know of a speaker or bureau in the world that doesn’t prize their collection of thank you letters. By the way, a powerful testimonial from you, assuming it was earned, can create a psychic debt situation which puts you in a better negotiating position in the future.