Before you look for a speaker

Before you make a decision re a speaker take a moment to review the foillowing tips.


Select a theme - Where possible, select your theme early. Themes set the scene in terms of topics and can be branded on all material. Conferences can retain their impact for 12 months or at least until the next comparative event. Once you have a theme, try to hold this theme in your correspondence, newsletters etc. until the next conference. 

Many conference organisers see a conference lasting the duration of the conference only, making it a very expensive event. If you plan for, and make the conference last for a year, then you're focusing on VALUE rather than COST.

Do you need a "celebrity" speaker? - If you are dependent on a draw card to get people along, which is the case with ticketed events and most association conferences, you need a well-known name. Corporate events where attendance is compulsory don't rely on a "name" to the same extent. As a general rule you will pay more for a celebrity speaker than a non-celebrity. Most "celebrity" speakers are in the public arena either on television or in magazines.

Celebrity speakers aren't necessarily better speakers they are just better known speakers.

Pick the topic rather than a speaker - What is the theme of the conference? Why was that theme selected? What message do you want your audience to receive? Once you know the message, select a speaker, or speakers, who can deliver that message. The message or topic is the most important thing. 

How many speakers will you require in total? - Some speaker slots will be taken by in-house speakers and industry speakers while others will require outside paid speakers. Once you determine the number of speakers, designate them by:

Business speakers 

Motivational speakers
Workshop speakers 
After dinner speakers. 
Don't forget the most important resource, the MC !

Criteria for selecting all speakers - And we do mean ALL speakers. Outside, industry and company speakers should be selected and treated the same. Too often speakers are tolerated because of their egos their position their perseverance, rather than what they will bring to the table.

All speakers should be chosen using the same criteria. That criterion is: Does their message fit in with the theme, are they good presenters, will they add value? If they don't why are you using them? Don't use similar message speakers. check the speaker's message. If it is too close to another speaker, you're best to use only one of the speakers, not both.

What is your budget? - If budget is a consideration, and it usually is, know what your parameters are. Remember some speakers, depending on the location, will require expenses such as accommodation and travel. Once you determine the topic, the speakers can be selected to suit the budget parameters although, in most cases,  you do get what you pay for. 

Briefing is critical - Professional speakers work to a brief. Make sure you have thought out what you want to achieve and meet with the speaker to discuss. Speakers New Zealand will ensure that everyone concerned knows what is expected. 

Start and finish on a high note - The first speaker at a conference sets the tone for the entire conference and the last speaker leaves them with the last strong impact, so make sure you pick topics and speakers who can deliver the results. 

Share the costs or get a sponsor - Check when speakers are visiting your area and, if appropriate, join with another company or companies to reduce the cost of fees and travel. What about canvassing those companies who supply to you or would like to get their message to your audience? They are called sponsors.