Twenty Tips For You The Meeting Planner

Things You Want Know When Booking Speakers, Trainers and Consultants - (Articles Home)

1. Are they experts? What defines an expert? That’s a subjective question. Most people have different criteria for the guidelines. What are yours?

2. Can they accomplish what you want and need?

3. Are they published in their field of expertise? Does it matter to you?

4. Do they have enough experience? How broad of a range of experience do you require?

5. Can they offer additional resources and networks for you?

6. How much platform time or as some of us call it ‘mic time’ do they have? How long have they been doing it and at what frequency?

7. On stage do they offer a unique quality or style?

8. Do they customize their program to fit industries, specific groups and audience demographics?

9. What is the quality of their promotion kit? (Photos, bio, intro, articles, books, tapes, CD’s, program descriptions, pre-program questionnaire, etc.).

10. Is their program interactive with the audience? Is that important to you?

11. Call their references. Ask - What were they like to work with? How much customizing was done? Was it relevant for the audience? Did they start on time? Did they end on time? Would you hire them again? Is their anything you would change after working with them?

12. Be sure to ask this question every time. What else can they do to enhance the ‘experience’ for the audience?

13. Will they offer to sell books and tapes? Do you want them to do it on the platform? Would you prefer they sell them from the back of the room or the hallway after the program? Can you negotiate a pre-sale of products for everyone
in the audience? Will the speaker autograph them or customize them?

14. Will they agree to come early and/or stay after their program?
Note: Speakers, trainers and consultants sell their time. In some cases they are booked before and/or after your program and we will have to work with the schedule. In most cases when asked in advance, they will do their best to work accommodate you.

15. Looking at videos and CD’s: Many speakers have videos. Some have CD’s. Some videos are good or even excellent. Some are not good. Some are over produced. Some are not produced well. One word of advice, look beyond the video. In our experience, a smaller percentage of trainers and consultants do not have videos. You be the judge.

16. Some people fall into this castigatory: They have been speaking for a few decades. They have written and published books, tapes, success guides and articles. They may have many hours of material and customize programs for clients. It’s not easy to show a lifetime of customized presentations in just a few minutes. Please look for chemistry, style and enthusiasm, not content. If you believe he or she is a good fit for your group or you need more information, please call the speakers bureau to set up an interview with the speaker.

17. Telephone interviews: The phone interview is one of several ways groups choose speakers. Here are a few tips: Set objectives to plan out your call. Set a time limit up front for each call. 15 to 30 minutes is usually enough time unless you have specific issues, case studies, or special needs. Remember these people like to talk and may talk all day if you let them.

18. Make a list of questions you would like to have answered. Take your time thinking out and writing the questions. You may want to discuss this list with your speakers’ bureau. You may choose to fax these questions to the speaker ahead of time.

Note: Don’t try to have a big group of people like a large committee involved in the call. In 1999 I heard about a conference call with 27 committee members and one speaker. I’ll leave the outcome to your imagination. Designate one or a few people to make the call, plan it out carefully and ask all the speakers you are interviewing the same questions. This will give you a fair benchmark to base your decision.

19. Would you want to introduce them to your family? Don’t laugh… the groups you are planning these meetings for can be like an extended family to many event planners. Having a person who is good on stage and off stage should be important to you.

20. Find a good speakers bureau that can work with you. Not all are created equal and many serve different markets. Find the right one who is willing to serve you and one you can establish a solid relationship with and go with it.


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