Welcome to Presentation-Pointers!      Keyword Search:    

Check out our new projector section click here. You will find reviews on the latest LCD projectors and DLP projectors for business presentations.

Selecting Savvy Speakers
By Doug Malouf   Printer Friendly Version

Speakers come in all shapes and sizes and areas of expertise. You name the topic, you can find a speaker to do it .
Some are good.
Some are brilliant.
Some are so bad - well, forget it. Or cry.

Organising a conference or meeting carries a huge responsibility. A lot of money can be at stake. You may not realise it, but the cost of putting people in a room just to hear a few words is surprisingly high. Let's say you have thirty delegates at a session. Try this: thirty executives at $100 per hour is $3,000 per hour! You can see why the message has to have impact!

The secret is ensuring you don't engage speakers who have the delegates nodding into their notebooks after two minutes!

Success Secret No 1
The cost of the speaker is not important, but the cost of their message is. A good speaker can cause the magic of an idea to become reality...

So how do you select savvy speakers?
Too often organisers spend up big on other aspects of the conference and economise by having some big-wig in the company address the audience. Disaster looms. Think... If dear old Fred has been saying the same few words for the past ten years to the same team - you'd do as well to burn the money as engage him as a speaker! Or give speeches a miss entirely or install a pool table. Why should an audience listen to a speech with no impact?

Success Secret No 2

The importance of impact cannot be overrated. A speaker with impact will be remembered. A message with impact ensures success for the conference, the individual, and the business.

Never economise on speakers.

When deciding on a speaker, you should be looking at the following four things:

1. The length of speaking time:
People are easily bored therefore it's essential to maintain the pace of the session. Rarely will you encounter a speaker who talks for longer than sixty minutes or an audience who can bear to sit and listen for much longer. If there are no audio-visuals, cut the time to forty-five minutes. A speaker who runs over time can throw your whole seminar into chaos. These tips may help...

  1. Lay down firm ground rules at an introductory session
  2. Use three minute warning signals and 'stop speaking' signals to assist speakers.

Timing is essential, for the speaker and the listener.

2. The Time of Speaking:
The audience can concentrate better in the morning; concentration deteriorates as the day grows older. Consider these aspects when deciding which speakers should be on at which times:

  1. Technical or more challenging material should be presented in morning sessions.
  2. Speeches should be shorter as the day progresses.
  3. Panels of speakers work well in afternoon sessions.
  4. More frequent changes of speaker and activities as the day wears on.

3. Style and Presentation:
It's hard to avoid the odd drone. But whenever possible, book talented, interesting people so delegates will leave with an overall impression that the conference was worth the effort.

Speakers Range From:

  • talking heads
  • peakers who rely on talking visuals with only occasional input.
  • speakers who talk a lot, uses only a few slides
  • speakers who like total audience participation.

Big budgets = no limits. But even with little money, there's much you can do. However the less money you have, the more careful you have to be.

4. Information About the Speaker:
When you're booking speakers, thoroughly check out the following four points:

Area of Expertise:
Select the best speaker for your conference and theme. No point in asking a time-management expert to help you solve the aerodynamics of the string glider.

Presentation Style:
What effect are you after? A light and breezy approach? Inspirational? Witty? Someone who can make difficult technical concepts clear and interesting? Look at the session time, look at the projected speech length, look at the conference theme, then make your choice.

Track Record:
Being a "new kid on the block" doesn't mean the speaker won't deliver the goods. Taking a punt on a new speaker and can't get feedback? Try them out in a short speech session first. It's rarely worth investing money in a speaker with a so-so reputation. Book early to get the most suitable person, not the only one left on the list.

Attitudes and Values:
Try to ensure that your speaker's attitudes and values mirror those of most of the delegates - especially the values of the company. If you're espousing ethical business procedures and restraint, it's not wise to choose a speaker who's renowned for a being a shark.

And there you have it - the A to Z of selecting savvy speakers. Choose wisely, and your conference will be memorable for more than the hangovers.

Printer Friendly Version

Click here for more articles by Doug Malouf.