How to Find a Good Speaker

Finding great speakers for your meeting, conference or convention is clearly an important task. You will, most likely, want to find a speaker whose topic is relevant to your participants and whose presentation style is engaging as well. Regardless of the size of the event or the budget, your task is equally important to those attending. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to find lists of potential speakers to interview.


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    Throw the net as wide as possible when searching for a speaker.
    • Look in your own organization.
    • Think about community leaders
    • Think about excellent speakers whom you have heard and would like to bring to your membership.
    • Ask colleagues and friends to recommend a speaker.
    • Check with your local Toastmasters club and Chamber of Commerce.
    • Don't just look locally to save travel expenses, but don't overlook local talent either.
    • Check out the web sites in the Sources and Citations section below. All three of the organizations provide free listings (some sell upgraded listings) to speakers who would like to hear from you. One of the organizations charges you for their services, the others do not.
    • Check out LinkedIn Groups. There are several Groups of speakers on LinkedIn eager to hear from you.
    • If your budget allows and you are looking for a big name speaker, consider contacting one of the Speakers Bureaus who represent well known speakers.
    • Alternatively, you might consider hiring a speaker-consultant-on-call who can help you.
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    Choose a speaker based on their overall fit. Think beyond just the theme of your event. While any speaker worth their salt will work to customize the presentation to fit your theme in one way or another, you deserve more than that. You want your attendees to walk away from the session saying “What a great speaker!.”
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    Good writing does not necessarily a good speaker make. Interview your speaker before making a decision.
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    Be holistic in your search for a speaker (don't base your search on price alone). Don’t let price, budget, name, or even topic dictate your search. Look for the right speaker and if they are a fit, try to negotiate the expenses into the fee.
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    If you are a not-for-profit charity trying to raise funds see if the speaker will work with you on price (some will and some will not), but don't try to negotiate price based upon your charitable mission with the speaker and then have an expensive dinner at an expensive venue!
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    Don't get caught up in the name. Name-recognition speakers are expensive, and sadly there are only a handful of great name-recognition speakers out there accepting dates. Finding a ‘silver bullet’ speaker is rare (great name, great story, great speaker, great message, actually accept engagements). Nearly without exception, one of the things on that list has to be sacrificed. Quite often name-recognition is a contra-indication of speaking skills. It’s a short list! You can save $10k - $20k by hiring a no-name speaker with the right stuff. For well-spoken, engaging, name-recognition speakers, consider those who are famous for a profession that requires giving speeches (e.g., politicians & activists).

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Categories: Public Speaking | Speaking